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Full text of "The independent film & video monthly"

independent 

I FILM AND VIDEO MONTHLY 




A Publication of The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers 

www.aivf.org 




They make 
We sell it. 



isiory. 



The ITN Archive holds one of the biggest collections of news material anywhere 
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iM 




FILM FESTIVAL 



10 Days Celebrating 10 Years 




Call for Entries 



Filmmakers' Favorite 

"One of the most enjoyable festival experiences 
I've fiad...in ttie top tier of filmmaker-friendly festivals 
anywhere. . .everyone who gets invited is a big winner." 

— Mark J. Gordon, writer and director, hier Majesty 

"Never before have we screened for over 900 people 
at a single festival screening. You have unlocked a door 
that many a festival director is trying to find— the key to 
solid attendance. " 

— Adrienne Wehr, producer. The Bread, My Sweet 

Entry is FREE this year in honor of our 10th anniversary 

Competitions in 35mm and 16mm films include feotures, 

shorts, documentaries, and animation. 

Stony Brook Film Festival does not project video. 

Largest venue and film screen in the region 

• 1 ,000-plus seats 

• 40-foot screen 

• More than 13,000 attendees at the 2004 festival. 

Entry forms available online at 5tonybrookfilmfestival.com 

Or write to: 

Stony Brook Film Festival 

Staller Center for the Arts, Room 2030A 

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 1 1794-5425 

Deadline: May 2, 2005 

For more information, call 631-632-7235 

or e-mail: filmfestivol@stonybrookfilmfestival.com 



AA/EOE 



STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY 



www.stonybrookfilmfestivaL com 




CENTER FOR THE ARTS 




sxsw.com 



MARCH 11 - 19 » AUSTIN, TEXAS 




2005 TOPICS include: Independent film pioneer and 
founder of "Killer Films" Christine Vachon, will host a 
career retrospective. Vachon has spent the last two 
decades producing an impressive body of work with 
some of the most innovative directors in the business. 



The SXSW Film Conference and Festival 

has quickly emerged as one of the world's 
premier venues for discovering new film- 
makers as well as honoring established 
legends. 



Visit us at sxsw.com 



For more information including: 
» conference updates 
» registration discounts 
» list of exhibitors 




■i. ■>»'■; ..' 




TalentMatch 



Talent, Industry and the 
Fans that Support Them 



com 




Volume 28 Number i 

Cover: Curtis Wheeler: the subject of Jacob Okada's film, Curtis (Jacob Okada) 



www.aivf.org 



Upfront 



Features 



5 EDITOR'S LETTER 

6 CONTRIBUTORS 
8 NEWS 

Conservative film fests; Kodak's VIS10N2 
expands; San Franciscos Proposition 1. is a loser 
By Lindsay Gelfand 

12 FIRST PERSON 

Movieside's director muses about the current state 
of short films 

By Rusty Nails 

1 6 PRODUCTION JOURNAL 

The heart and mind behind the filming ot Curtis 
By Jacob Okada 

22 PROFILE 

Kevin Everson turns the ordinary into 
the extraordinary 

By Laila Lalami 

27 DOC DOCTOR 

The short: does it make financial sense? 
Is there a structure to follow? 
By Fernanda Rossi 

30 FESTIVAL CIRCUIT 

The Chlotrudis Short Film Festival 
By Ben Chung 

34 Q/A 

Big Short Film's David Russell 
B\' Fiona Ng 

36 ON THE SCENE 

The 25th anniversan,' of Asburv Shorts 
of New York 

Bv Colin Ginks 



40 THE ANATOMY OF A SHORT 

The genre is becoming increasinglv 
legitimatized within the film industry 
By Marisa S. Olson 

44 SHORT PEOPLE 

A roundup of some of the top short-makers 
By Margaret Coble 

48 BACK TO THE FEATURE 

How (some) shorts grow long 
By Rick Harrison 

52 THE TALENTED TENTH 

Indie actors-turned short-filmmakers 
Bv Kate Bernstein 



56 BOOK REVIEW 

The Sam-croiv Video Movie Guide's take on a 
century of film 

By Lisa Selin Davis 



Listings 



61 FESTIVALS 

68 CLASSIFIEDS 

71 FILMS/TAPES WANTED 

74 NOTICES 

78 SALONS 

79 THANKS 

80 THE LIST 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 3 






•'} 


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independent 

Publisher: Bienvenida Matias 

|publisher@aivf org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Rebecca Carroll 



Managing Editor: Shana Liebman 

|independent@aivf org| 

Assistant Editor: Rick Harrison 

|lacl(5Jaivf org] 

Designer: R. Benjamin Brown 

|benbrowngraphic@msn com] 

Production Associate: Timothy Schmidt 

[gfaphics®aivf org] 

Editorial Associate: Lindsay Gelfand 

[notices'a)aivf org] 

Contributing Editors: 

Sherman Alexie, Pat Aufderheide, Monique Cormier, 

Bo Mehrad, Cara Mertes, Kate Tuttle 

Contributing Writers: 

Elizabeth Angell, Margaret Coble, Lisa Selin Davis, 

Matt Dunne, Greg Gllpatrick, 

Gad! Harel, JohnPavlus 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 

I21ZI 807-1400 x232, Iveronica'aaivf org] 

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Classified Advertising: Michael Tierno 

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• 

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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly, 

304 Hudson St , 6 fl , New York, NY 10013 

The Independent Film & Video Monthly ilSSN 1077-8918) 
is published monthly (except combined issues January/February 
and July/August) by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) dedicated to the advancement of 
media arts and artists. Subscription to the magazine is included 
in annual membership dues ($70/Yr individual. $40/yr student: 
SlOO/yr nonprofit/school, sliding scale (see website) for 
business/industry) paid to the Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF), the national professional association of 
individuals involved in moving image media. Library subscrip- 
tions are $80/yr. Contact: AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6 fl., New York, 
NY 10013, 12121 807-1400; fax: (212) 463-8519; info@aivf.org. 

Periodical Postage paid at New York, New York 
and at additional mailing offices 

Printed in the USA by Cadmus Specialty Publications 



,^ Publication of The Independent is made possible 

^ff in part with public funds from the New York State 

:.•.;■;:.•.; Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the National 

■°' ~ Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency 

Publication of any ad in Tifie Independent does not constitute an 

endorsement. FIVF is not responsible for any claims made in an ad. 
All contents are copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc Reprints require written permission and acknowledge- 
ment of the article's previous appearance in The Independent Tne 
Independents indexed in the Alternative Press Index and is a mem- 
ber of the Independent Press Association. 

AIVF staff: Bienvenida Matias, executive director. 
Soma Malfa. program director, Priscilla Grim, membership director; 
Bo Mehrad. information services director. Greg Gilpatrick, 
technology consultant, Emily Banks, Tama Caceres, Jeffrey Scheible, 
interns; FIVF legal counsel: Robert I. Freedman, Esq., Cowan, 
DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard 

AIVF Board of Directors: Joel Bachar, Liz Canner, Anne del Castillo, 
Doug Hawes-Davis, Regqe Life, Bienvenida Matias (ex oficio), 
Michele Meek, Simon Tarr, Rahdi Taylor, Elizabeth Thompson, 

Jim Vincent. Bart Weiss 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2004 
Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 



4 The Independent I January/Februan/ 2005 




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EDITOR'S LETTER 

Dear Readers, 

The short film — what a perfect genre. 
Like the perfect snack. Or the very best 
poem: intensity and imagination distilled 
down to the most crucial and poignant of 
words. Short films are the quintessential 
starting point, and for some filmmakers, the 
definitive end goal. Many of you will be read- 
ing this i.ssue while at the Sundance Film 
Festival 2005 — and perhaps some of you who 
are returning may recognize this issues cover 
shot from Curtis, the brilliant short film by 
Jacob Okada that debuted at Sundance last 
year. Jacob shared the process of making his 
very poetic film in this months Production 
Journal column (page 16). 

There are new and inveterate shorts people 
all around us. \bu probably know one or sev- 
eral, or even as likely, you are one. We at The 
Independent were fortunate (and smart) 
enough to entice contributions and time 
from a good number of these makers for this 
issue. Rusty Nails, of Chicago's Movieside 
Film Festival (touted as the largest short film 
festival in the United States), who has been 
described in print as "the hippie-haired, irrev- 
erent local filmmaker with a penchant for the 
bizarre," offers up a sound First Person piece 
on what he's seen new and interesting — and 
perhaps not so interesting — in short films in 
recent years (page 12). Portland, Oregon- 
based writer and lit blogger Laila Lalami 
(Moorishgirl.com) gives us a look into the life 
and work of talented and tireless filmmaker 
Kevin Everson, whose oeuvre includes over 
20 short I6mm, 35mm, and digital films 
about the working class culture of black folks 
in America (page 22). 



In the feature well, west coast writer 
Marisa S. Olson walks us under the tent poles 
of the short film as genre (page 40) — says 
Shane Smith, artistic director of the 
Worldwide Short Film Festival at the 
Canadian Film Centre: "The short film is 
increasingly becoming respected as an art 
form in its own right." Brilliant. Let's talk 
about it. A contributing writer for The 
Independent, Margaret Coble, rounded up a 
group of working short-filmmakers (page 
44) — some with great new projects in the 
hopper, others still riding the wave of their 
last — among them Cina Levy (Too Too Dust), 
Jesse F^pstein ( Wet Dreams and False hnages), 
and Tom Wilson (Pulling Rank). 

Writer and filmmaker Kate Bernstein 
(whose short Ladies Room is currently touring 
the festival circuit) checked out the growing 
trend of independent actors-turned short 
film directors that includes lllcana Douglas, 
Hank A/aria, and Ralph Macchio. Yes, //;/// 
Ralph Macchio (page 52). And assistant edi- 
tor at The Independent, Rick Harrison (page 
48), considers the jump from short to feature 
for a few lucky filmmakers (or not so lucky. 
There's a whole lot more riding when a film 
is 101 minutes as opposed to, say, 8). 

Freelancer Colin Ginks went On the 
Scene (page 36) with the Asbury Shorts of 
New York's 25th anniversary celebration; our 
own Lisa Selin Davis offers up an insightful 
review of The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide 
(page 56); Los Angeles-based writer Fiona Ng 
talks to "the go-to man for all things short 
film," Big Short Films founder and president, 
David Russell (page 34); and Ben Chung, 
arts chair of The Harvard Crimson, took in 
the fifth annual Chlotrudis Short Film 
Festival in Brookline and Cambridge, 
Massachusetts (page 30). 

Enjoy, and thanks for reading 
The Independent, 
Rebecca Carroll 



Reliable, 
Global, 
Total 
Coverage! 








11 



Pay only $168 for 52 issues* of 
Variety and with your subscription 
you will receive 24/7 access to 
Variety.com and bi-monthly issues 
of VLife 

To take advantage of this offer 
call: 

1-866-MY VARIETY 

and mention The Independent. 

(new subscriptions only) 

' Including regular and special issues 



January/Februarv 2005 I The Independent 5 



Contributors 




KATE BERNSTEIN is a producer for \H-1 and 
has written about film, music, and popular 
culture tor a \arier\' oi magazines. She received 
her BA I'rom Swarthmore College and her MA 
from N\XJ, both in cinema studies. Her short 
film, La/Jies Room, is currently touring festivals. 
Kate was born in Moscow, Russia and raised in 
Brooklvn, New York. 



1^1 




BEN CHUNG is the arts chair of the Harvard MARGARET COBLE is a New Orleans-based 
Crhmon, the universir\'s daily newspaper. He freelance writer, DJ, activist, and artist. She 
is a junior stud\ing biological anthropolog)'. helps organize Reel Identities: The New 

Orleans Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and 
Transgender Film Festival and helps produce 
the Michigan Womyns Music Festival's 
annual film festival. She can be reached via 
her website, w^v^v.djmags.com. 




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6 The Independent I January/February 2005 



^ ■'i* 



LINDSAY GELFAND is an editorial associate at 
The Independent. She recently received a BA in 
film from Northwestern University, and now 
lives in BrookKn. 

COLIN GINKS is a 36-year-old Brit who 
relocated to New York after leaving England 
1 5 years ago. He is a shown painter and pub- 
lished author (Charlene's Angels), and is work- 
ing on his second novel, Fire Down Below, as 
well as a second art show in 2005. 

RICK HARRISON is an assistant editor at The 
Independent. His work has appeared in 
Newsday, The Forward, Our Town and The 
West Side Spirit. 

LAILA LALAMI is a writer based in Portland, 
Oregon. Her work has appeared in The 
Baltimore Review, The Los Angeles Times, and 
The Los Angeles Review. She maintains the 
popular blog www.moorishgirl.com. 




RUSTY NAILS is a filmmaker, actor, teacher, 
writer, and the director ot" the Movieside Film 
Festival. In addition to his feature film Acne, he 
is collecting 13 of his short films for an 
upcoming DVD release. He is currently in 
post-production of Highway Robbery, a docu- 
mentary abouts the taking ot a 65-year-old 
blind veteran's propert)' via eminent domain. 
He has written for Venus, Bridge Magazine, 
Stop Smiling, and Supersphere.com. 

FIONA NO is a freelance writer living in New 
\'ork. She has written for Bust, RES, The Los 
Angeles Times, Filtntnaker Magazine, and other 
publications. 

JACOB OKADA graduated in 2002 from New 
York Universit\''s Tisch School ol the Arts with 
a BFA in film production. He is the recipient 
ol the Warner Bros. Pictures Production Award 



for his documentary Curtis. He was also 
awarded NYU's prestigious Russell Hexter 
Filmmaker Grant in recognition by his peers 
lor artistic merit and collaborative spirit. Jacob 
has taught filmmaking at the School of 
Cinema and Performing Arts and worked for 
various artists, including Philip Glass. Jacob is 
currently fundraising for his first feature film 
as well as developing his next documentary. 

MARISA S. OLSON has written for Flash Art, 
Wired, Afterimage, Art on Paper, Mute, Planet, 
Surface, and many other publications. She has 
curated media art exhibitions at SF-MOMA, 
White Columns, Camerawork, and is an 
internationally-exhibiting artist whose work 
The New York Times recently called "anything 
but stupid." 

FERNANDA ROSSI is a filmmaker and 
script/documciuar}' doctor. She also leads the 
nationwide Documentary Dialogues discus- 
sions offered by AIVF. For more info, visit 
\vww.documentar)'doctor.com 




January/February 2005 I The Independent 7 



NEWS 



DOING FILM THE RIGHT WAY 




FREE^EECH 



You don't have it 



Brainwashing 101, which presents college as a PC indoctrination center, was one of the 
shorts screened at the Liberty Film Festival in Los Angeles (Evan Coyne Maloney) 



Conservative filmmakers have rallied in 
response to the left-wing liberal films 
that peppered our theaters this elec- 
tion season and as their slogan proclaims, 
"There's nothing Michael Moore can do 
about it!" 

A few years ago Jim and Ellen Hubbard 
walked out of their local theater disappointed 
to find their only options were Frii/a (2002), 
the biopic of a communist artist, and Michael 
Moore's left-of-center Bowling for Columbine 
(2003^). Frustrated with the lack of films for 
"regular people," they organized the American 
Film Renaissance Film Festival, a self-pro- 
claimed first conservative film festival in order 
to counter the liberal monopoly on independ- 
ent film and give the right a voice. The 
American Film Renaissance Film Festival in 
Dallas and the Liberty Film Festival in Los 
Angeles (of all places) boast programs infused 



with what conservatives tout as traditional 
pro-American values. 

From September 10-12, AFR screened 21 
films in the Dallas suburb of Addison, Texas, 
and although Michael Moore was not invited, 
his presence at the festival was undeniable. 
Michael Wilson's optimistic documentary 
Michael Moore Hates America received a 1 0- 
minute standing ovation. Provocative title 
aside, Wilson's film depicts an American 
dream achieved by hard work and faith, exem- 
plifying Jim Hubbard's intention: "We've got 
to have a film festival for the 70 percent of the 
country who believe America is a good, 
decent place. " Talk show host and columnist 
Larry Elder's documentary Michael and Me 
also attacks Moore, challenging the gun con- 
trol advocacy presented by his Academy 
Award-winning Bowling for Columbine. 

Films screened at the AFR didn't simply 



By Lindsay Gelland 



attack the obvious targets like Michael Moore, 
the Clintons, and Fidel Castro, but celebrated 
their conservative counterparts, figures like 
Anne Coulter, President George W Bush, and 
the man who brought you The Passion of the 
Christ, Mel Gibson. 

With titles like David W. Balsinger's George 
W Bush: Faith in the White House, Tim Chey's 
beyond the Passion of the Christ: The Impact, 
and Jorge Torres's Peace Commies — "a gritty 
look at the subversive radicals behind the 
peace movement" — the AFR throws a blow in 
what the Hubbards refer to as "the cultural 
war waged between the traditional and the 
modern, the spiritual and the secular." 

Shortly after the American Film 
Renaissance debuted, another right-wing film 
festival surfaced, this time in the epicenter of 
liberal filmmaking — Hollv'\vood. Co-directed 
by Jason Apuzzo and Govindini Murry, the 



8 The Independent I January/February 2005 




Liberty Film Festival co-directors Jason Apuzzo and Govindini Murty introducing the festival 
on opening night (courtesy of Liberty Film Festival) 



Liberty Film Festival screened numerous 
films from October 1-3 that had made their 
world premieres at the AFR along with a host 
of other right-wing movies including Celsius 
41.11: The Temperature at which the Brain 
Begins to Die. 

"After seeing the impact of Fahrenheit 
9/11, we decided that there must be a 
response to correct the record, " said David 
Bossie, president of C'itizens United and exec- 
utive producer of Celsius 41.11. Billed as 
"The Truth Behind the Lies of Fahrenheit 
9/11" Celsius 41.11 not only refutes Moore's 
anti-Bush film but also deconstructs 
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. 
But not all filmmakers made jabs at liber- 
als; in fact, the festival paid homage to the 
late Ronald Reagan with the screening of In 
the Face of Evil which documents his 40-year 
struggle against communism. And by open- 
ing with a film depicting HolK-woods true 
minority, Greg Wolfe: Republican Jew, the fes- 
tival gave the audience permission to sit back, 
relax, and enjoy. Attendees of the Liberty 
Film festival did just that as some even took 
to "booing" the screen at the sight of promi- 
nent liberals like Al Gore. Thev even held a 



panel discussion on the blacklisting of conser- 
vatives in Hollwood. But Jim Hubbard of 
AFR claims: "Our biggest criticism is not with 
liberals. Our biggest criticism is with conser- 
vative.s" who should be making more films. 

I he married festival directors Apuzzo and 
Murty point out that the recent success of 
family films like Spider-Man and Harry Potter 
proves movie-goers want more traditionally 
\alued films, and claim the\' have simply rec- 
ognized film's infiuence on American culture. 
As Jim Hubbard says, while film reaches every- 
one, it doesn't speak to everyone. The creation 
of these right-wing film festivals acts as the 
conservatives" game of cultural catch-up, the 
first step in their efforts to even out the polit- 
ical imbalance of independent film. 

WHAT'S IN STOCK? 

Give your story more detail in any light — 
that's the incentive behind the expansion of 
Kodak's VISION2 film family to include its 
first daylight-balanced color negative film 
stock. Introduced in 2002, Kodak's VISION2 
emulsions are praised for rendering low-grain, 
high quality image structure specifically devel- 
oped with digital and optical post-production 







The AIVF Guide to 

Film & Video 
Distributors 

edited by Rania Richardson 

What You'll Find: 

' Up-to-date profiles of close to 200 
distributors, supplemented by "how 
to" articles, selected reprints fronn 
The Independent, and in-depth inter- 
views with over 20 distributors. 

• Published to order, ensuring the most 
current information that's available. 



Order online at 




January/February 2005 I The Independent 9 



NINTH ANNUAL 

■ ANTELOPE VALLEY 

Independent 

FILM FESTIVAL 

May 13-15,20 



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applications in mind. Available in I6mm, 
35mm, and 65mm, this latest VISION2 is 
optimized for an exposure index of 250 in 
natural or artificial 5,500-degrees-Kelvin day- 
light and also in mixed color temperature 
situations. 

In an inten'iew reported by CMP United 
Business Media, Robert Mayson, general man- 
ager and vice president of image capture for the 
Kodak Entertainment Imaging division, breaks 
it down for those of us less versed in cine- 
matography jargon: "This latest VISION2 
film is designed to provide extraordinan' cre- 
ative latitude for cinematographers who are 
working in daylight conditions," he said. 

Cinematographers who shot early tests 
reported that the new negative captures high- 
light and shadow areas with more nuanced 
details in both natural and artificial light. Allen 
Dax'iau ( Van Helsing, E. T., Bugsy) was among 
the cinematographers who tested the film. 
"This new stock includes several innovations 
that make it a more natural recorder of day- 
light," he told CMP UBM. "The contrast is a 
touch softer, and it records a quieter rendition 
of reds. It is a distinct improvement that offers 
new opportunities for telling stories. We're 
always trying to do things we haven't done 
before. Each new advance in film technolog)' 
allows us to be more darin»." 



10 The Independent I January/February 2005 



THE L WORD 

A number ot legislative efforts have been 
waged to save San Francisco's single-screen 
movie theaters which have dropped from 
35 to a mere 12 in the past 25 years. The most 
controversial solution to date is Proposition L, 
which intended to take 15 percent of the 
money raised by local hotel tax, about SI 0.5 
million a year, and give it to the private 
nonprofit Save Our Theaters in the hopes 
of acquiring, preserving and maintaining 
neighborhood and single-screen movie the- 
aters, and thus promoting the local film com- 
munity. But critics charged that founder of 
Save Our Theaters, aspiring filmmaker Greg 
Stephens, has a lack of experience in 
theater ownership and management and have 
deemed Proposition L the "San Francisco 
indie scam." 

Stephens emphatically defended the pro- 
posal, insisting that his actions were in the best 
interest of the independent film artist and 
chalked up theater owners' lack of support to 
their fear of competition. But theater owners 
aren't the only members of the local film com- 
munity who united against Proposition L, 
they were joined by a high-profile group 
including city Mayor Gavin Newsom and 
actor Sean Penn. Francis Ford Coppola, Philip 
Kaufman, Bill Banning from The Roxie, Anita 



Monga from the Castro, Gary Meyer from 
the Balboa, Gail Silva of Film Arts 
Foundation, as well as Landmark Theaters, 
the San Francisco Film Society and others 
also joined the opposition. Adamantly 
opposing the measure, Newsom and all 11 
supervisors on the San Franci.sco Chamber 
of Commerce cited fiscal irresponsibility as 
Proposition L would hand over millions in 
public subsidy that would usually go 
toward supporting the arts, parks, and 
affordable housing to an organization not 
yet recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit 
corporation. 

"Proposition L claims to "Save Our 
Theaters.' In fact, it would hijack ten mil- 
lion dollars a year from Cit\' Funds, and 
give it to a group that has never managed a 
theater and didn't exist until they wrote this 
proposition, " said Sean Penn in a prepared 
statement posted on the website created by 
the anti-L group (www.noonl.com). 
"Proposition L is the wrong solution for 
saving our neighborhood theaters, and its 
wrong for San Francisco." As it turned out, 
75 percent of San Francisco's voting 
residents agreed with Sean Penn and gave 
Proposition L "two thumbs down," official- 
ly scuttling the measure, "k 




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January/February 2005 I The Independent 11 



HIRST PERSON 



The State of Short Films 

The director of the largest shorts test muses about the genre 



By Rusty Nails 




George Romero at the Movieside Film Festival (Dan Miles) 



Cinema was born as a siiort form. Most 
early films were mere seconds long. 
Throughout the history of celluloid, 
countless great filmmakers have worked in the 
short format, and in many cases it is the medi- 
um that gives film and video-makers their best 
shot at creative freedom. 

One of my personal all-time favorite short 
films is Francois Truffaut's Les Mistons ( 1 958), 
which is a simple and beautiful film about a 
group of adolescent French boys whose frus- 
trated, unrequited love for an unattainable 
young woman serves as the central point of 
their ascent into maturity. While the editing, 
story, and acting are all superb, what makes 
the film most effective is its unique voice and 
creative care. 

As a filmmaker and the director of the 
Movieside Film Festival, the world's largest 
short film festival, I have watched thousands 
of short films and videos. In the three years 
since its inception, Movieside has screened 
over 400 short films by filmmakers from all 
over the world and held over 40 screenings in 
theaters, museums, and schools across the 
countrv. And a number of these films have 



been amazing — films like Sarina Khan 
Reddy's politically charged With Us or Against 
Us (2001), Nathan Pommer's hilariously self- 
explanatory Don't Trust Whitey (2003), Bryan 
Boyce's brutally sardonic George W. Bush eye- 
opener State of the Union (2001), Christine 
Hart's restless personal essay piece, 
Construction One: A Perfect Cheerleader 
(2001), Ray Harryhausen's delightful puppet 
romp The Tortoise and the Hare (2002), and 
Matt Marsden's creature-filled animation 
Small Green Scratches (200 1 ). 

But along with the good and great work 
comes a mountain of poor, mediocre, and 
lackluster pieces with the main purpose it 
seems, of acting as a foot in the door to the 
Hollywood palace. I consider these projects 
"business card" films or videos, and the prob- 
lem with making these kinds of mini- 
Hollywood monsters is that they're not even 
as bad as most major Hollywood monsters — 
they're much worse. 

When we first began the festival in June 
2001, most of the submissions we received 
were shot on film, and 60 percent of those 
submissions were screened. But increasingly, 



as video becomes the primary production 
medium for shorts, that percentage has 
dropped dramatically. Even though more 
video-produced work means more overall 
submissions, unfortunately that also means 
more poorly made films. To be comp- 
letely blunt, there are a lot of badly made 
videos out there. 

Judging from the recent crop of videos 
we've received, it seems that a lot of budding 
directors are afraid of making interesting or 
different shorts for fear the film may not be 
liked, bought, or distributed. In the end, a 
shocking amount of current work serves up 
the zillionth portion of screaming men with 
guns facing off against one another — works 
that I am positive will go no further than the 
filmmaker's personal DVD rack. In addition 
to rampant violence, many of these films fea- 
ture blatant homophobia, misogyny, and 
racism. And they lack a sense of humor. 

Even if your plan is to make bad 
Hollywood movies, couldn't you at least make 
a couple of good short films before you get 
there? Give yourself something to glance at 
occasionallv on the fancv marble shelf after 



12 The Independent I January/February 2005 



the millions have poured in and your rax shel- 
ters are firmly intact? This will act as a way to 
set the old mental embers tumbling back to a 
past when you wanted to do something 
worthwhile with film. 

Make the movie that you want to make, 
regardless of what the audience might think, 
and your chances of being noticed will be 100 
times better. If David Lynch had made his 
early film The Alphabet (1968) with a 
Hollywood audience in mind, it would not be 
the intense, horrific master short we know 
and love. For many established feature film- 
makers, their short films are their greatest tri- 
umphs. Only John Waters's trashy exploita- 
tion short The Diane l.inkletter Story (1969) 
could logically lead to the sweet filth of 
Multiple Maniacs (1970) and Pink Flaniiiigoi 
(1972). Guy Maddin's The Heart of the World 
(2000) and Odtlon Redon (1995) are 
renowned tor their beaurv and in"cnuit\'. 




Lydia (PiotrTokarski 



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first made the tragic Superstar: The Karen 
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family malfunction short Peel (1982) would 
lead us to the even more twisted Sweetie 
(1989). All of these short films have the same 
integral ingredients in common: passion, 
great stories, and humor. 

Movieside has always received a broad 
range of submissions in terms of content, but 



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Viewers at the festival (Piotr Tokarski) 



one particular constant is that we get films 
that would be so much better if they were 
shorter by half or r\vo thirds their submission 
length. Short films are called short films for a 
reason. This is a concern echoed by program- 
mers all over the world — we've all had to pass 
on films because the length inhibited its 
potential. 

When our festival began three years ago, 
many short-filmmakers saw the internet as a 
mystical money-making rainbow where they 
could dash off to, armed with an empty brief- 
case to stuff money into after someone bought 
their projects and billions of viewers logged 
on to screen the goods. As a programmer/ 
curator, I rarely visit sites to check out videos. 
A good number of people continue to ask me 
whether they should put their films on the 
net. And I say, the days of people making 
money from showing their shorts on the 
web (and very few did actually make money) 
are completely over. It can't hurt to have your 
work posted around, just don't sign 
any exclusive agreements that restrict the 
screening of your work (keeping it out of 
festivals or venues), unless you re comfortable 
with what is being offered in return. Many 
festivals are very particular about where your 
work has screened, so do your homework on 
the subject. 

For some short filmmakers, the emergence 
of microcinemas has eclipsed the "prestige" 
festivals like Sundance, Slamdance, Cannes, 



Telluride, and Toronto, because sending short 
films to these festivals can seem so hopeless — 
filmmakers feel that their work will be a grain 
of sand on the beach of tapes. Whereas 
microcinemas — like Balagan, Ice Capades, 
Independent Exposure, Microcinefest, 20,000 
Leagues Under the Industry, The Inflatable 
Duck Film Festival, Flicker, Shock-O-Rama 
and thousands of others are popping up 
around the world — require only a light sub- 
mission fee of about SIO, or no entry fee at 
all, and you're good to go. 

A major plus to these programs is the 
accessibiiit\', friendliness, and ease with which 




14 The Independent I January/February 2005 



Mel (above) with Meredith (facing page) 
(Piotr Tokarski) 



organizers can be contacred. Many offer 
rewards in the form of certificates, cash prizes, 
or even your initials made out of pancakes (Hi 
Mom! Film Festival). But its the appreciative 
audiences at these smaller venues/testivals that 
serve as the real reward. People who come to 
these theaters, store fronts, loft spaces, and 
warehouses are often only charged as little as 
$5 (or what you can afford) and are truly there 
to see the films — not to ogle the red carpet 
pageantrys or catch a glimpse of a famous per- 
son. Microcinemas are one of the best things 
to happen to independent filmmakers and fes- 
tivals in a long time. 

In recent years, I've noticed a massive push 
among short-filmmakers to grab hold of the 
punk-inspired, do-it-yourself aesthetic — 
many are pushing festivals to the wayside 
completely and holding personal screenings at 
bars, clubs, galleries, apartments, parking lots, 
and anv\vhere else you can fix an image. Ive 
been to a number of these events and there is 
often an air of excitement and relief that the 
work has finally gone public. Video projectors 
are becoming more affordable, and used 
16mm projectors are so cheap you'd think 
someone left them on the sidewalk. We're get- 
ting to the point where every short-filmmaker 
will have a screening somewhere, which is as it 
should be. Their films are made to be seen, "k 
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rROnUCTK^N H^l'RN \I 




Curtis Wheeler (Jacob Okada) 

When I was a teenager, I took a 
poetr)' workshop in Brookline, 
Massachusetts with Barbara 
Helfgott Hyett, a wonderful teacher and poet. 
One day as we leafed through a book of pho- 
tographs of snowflakes by Wilson Bentley, I 
was struck by this simple, yet elegant defini- 
tion of beauty: "A snowflake is beautiful 
because of its strength and stabilirx." This 
clear statement still resonates with me today 
as I discover that it applies as much to the 
structure of a film as it does to the structure ot 
a snowflake. 

1 took this to hean and mind when 1 made 
Curtis, the documentan,' short 1 worked on 
for three years about Curtis Wlieeler, an 
African American artist living with AIDS in 
New York. 

"Make em want more." is what veteran 
editor Jean Tsien advised me after seeing a 
rough cut of Curtis. ^Tiat she means is: tell 
enough of the stor)' so that it is complete, but 



dont overstay your welcome. Your beginning 
should capture your audience and immediate- 
ly transition into the conflict that is central to 
the film. 

Curtis Wheeler felt utterly alone at 
Rivington House, a New York City healthcare 
facility for AIDS patients. For many. 
Rivington House is a wonderfiil, life-saving 
place. Many of the residents have nowhere 
else to go. Curtis certainly wasn't well enough 
to live on his own, but he didnt fit into an 
institutional en\ironment — his natural 
curiosin-, need for intellectual stimulation, 
and his artistic nature were not served by the 
activities offered at Rivington. 

Taking stock of Curtis's malaise, I realized 
that his story isn't only about AIDS as much 
as it is about seeing how an artist deals with 
being deprived of his environment, especial!}- 
since Curtis's home was literally his palette. 
Curtis used the living room in his Washington 
Heights townhouse to express his love of 



Renaissance art by painting murals on the 
floors, walls and ceilings. One felt awestruck 
upon entering Curtis's space; his home was his 
temple. The central questions for my film, 
therefore, became: Will Curtis return homer 
Will he paint again? ^Tiat brings meaning to 
our lives? 

As an African American gay man in his 
50s, Curtis had seen a great deal of resistance 
from others about who he was. In spite of that 
or perhaps because of it, he left home for 
Europe where he pursued an academic and 
artistic life. He once told me how he snuck 
into a tool shed at Chartres Cathedral to stay 
overnight, study the art, and be alone in that 
holy place. 1 wanted to make sure that Curtis's 
personality, his stubborn will to live and his 
need to express himself came across in the 
film. 

But first, I had to get to know him and 
earn his trust. Not every filmmaker believes in 
spending time with his or her subject before 



16 The Independent I January/February 2005 




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Curtis in his apartment (Jacob Okada) 

shooting. My impression is chat it's not 
mandator)', but it helped me in the making of 
Curtis. Filming another human being is 
participating in that person's Ufe, especially at 
a time of an impasse. Bearing witness to 
suffering or joy is an act of strength. People 
have dignit)' by nature and 1 learned the 
strange and intuitive line not to cross as I 
spent time with Curtis, listening to him and 
sharing with him who 1 am. This is how 
Curtis and I became friends and how he also 
became my mentor. 

About a year into the making of the film, I 
shot a scene of Curtis playing Bingo at 
Rivington House, an activit}' he loathed. 
Later, I inten'iewed him about his experience 
for over an hour. We had a great time laugh- 
ing about the intellectual challenges of play- 
ing Bingo. "Do \'ou think government leaders 
play Bingo during stressful situations? I do," 
Curtis said, rolling his eves. The stuff I actual- 



ly ended up using in the film was culled from 
the last five minutes of the tape. Curtis 
synthesized everything fiinny he had said and 
expressed it in a 30-second, brilliant diatribe 
against having his entertainment reduced 
to playing Bingo and living in a nursing 
home. This became the unexpected beginning 
of the film. 

It also became emblematic of the way 
Curtis and I worked together. Because Curtis 
had a performer's flair and a teacher's instinct, 
his content was always thought-through. But 
when I asked him to repeat himself, he invari- 
ably became more focused and succinct. 

Curtis had a difficult time, and so did I. It 
was tough to watch him go blind. He was 
amazing as he kept trx'ing to read his belo\ed 
art books and wrestled with his desire to con- 
tinue to paint. His blindness, more than any- 
thing else, nearly sapped him of the hope to 
regain his independence. AIDS attacks in so 



18 The Independent I January/February 2005 




many ways, allowing other diseases to saddle 
the body. 

One of the reasons why 1 chose to make 
Curtis a short film is because death is boring. 
It's a banal and stale thing, not worth docu- 
menting. As a child I witnessed the deaths of 
many close family members with a sense of 
powerlessness about the process. What you do 
while you are still alive is what interests me. 
Why bother to make life meaningful, when 
you know you are going to die anw-ay? Watch 
Curtis and you'll see. 

I put together a 40-minute rough-cut of 
the film, which my editor, Alex Berger, and I 
compared to his initial, hour-long version. 
The tAvo of us spent days arguing and synthe- 
sizing these two cuts, taking our favorite bits 
from each and creating a new, leaner 39- 
minute film. Both of us sacrificed scenes we 
felt strongly about, but we made a much bet- 
ter film this way. 



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Jean Tsiens editorial advice sunk in deep 
during screenings with Alex, particularly at 
moments when wc both wished a scene to be 
interesting that simply wasn't. You can't root 
for a scene; it just has to be good. 

We were practical — our shooting schedule 
was dictated by Curtis's health, his dialysis 
appointments, and the many crises that land- 
ed him in and out of the hospital. Several 
times, we thought we had lost him. Once, he 
was so ill that he had his last rites performed. 
But Curtis kept rallying. He was determined 
to finish the film. 

During one of Curtis's many hospital stays, 
I asked his best friend, Don Yorty if I could 
film them together. Knowing how important 
this film was to Curtis, Don readily agreed. 
The result turned out to be one of the most 
moving scenes in the film. Before he died, 
Curtis told me that the scene with Don was 
one of his favorites. It is no accident that 
Curtis hung on until he completed the film 
and when he finally let go, Don Yorn,' was at 
his side reading him a poem. 

Throughout the shoot, I was lucky to have 
the consistent help of two individuals who 
were my sound crew: Nicole and Adam 
Morrow, talented filmmakers in their own 
right. On more than one occasion I relied on 
their invaluable advice that went way beyond 
recording sound. One of the best scenes from 
Curtis is the result of this collaboration. Nicole 
Opper and Curtis had become friends. As she 
was recording sound, he told the story of why 
he painted. "Sometimes art is a medicine in 
itself " Curtis confided as I kept filming. I was 
too exhausted to pay close attention, but luck- 
ily, Nicole listened and kept recording. I man- 
aged to get a few good shots that we ended up 
using, but without Nicole's concentration on 
content, that shoot would have been lost. 



Later, during an all-night editing session, 
Alex took this audio cut and transformed it 
into one of the central scenes of the film. I was 
fast asleep from exhaustion, while Alex 
spliced-in shots of Curtis painting the floor of 
his home as he spoke. What comes through is 
that despite blindness, an emaciated body, 
and the specter of death, Curtis was an artist 
to his very core. Following this scene are shots 
of Curtis's legs, which were in serious decay. 
One of the most disturbing, yet powerful 
scenes shows him in the hospital, unraveling a 
bandage on his arm and peeling off a band- 
aid. Curtis felt strongly about seeing the ugli- 
ness of the disease. Somehow we both felt that 
it was beautiful as well. 

The purpose of a documentary is to awak- 
en people from their inability to see and feel 
and to empathize with other human beings 
and their situations. It is both the reason why 
documentaries are great but also why they are 
often ignored. I know from personal experi- 
ence. When AIDS comes up, I see people's 
eyes glaze over. They have already made a snap 
judgment about the film, without seeing it. 
Its natural, of course. AIDS is a tough 
subject. As a result, I had to grow a thick skin 
and look at the bright side: a lot of people 
love Curtis and his story. There have been 
many films about AIDS, but there is only 
one Curtis — just as there was only one 
Curtis Wheeler. 

Now that Curtis is complete and has had a 
successful run at Sundance, Tribeca, and 
many other film festivals, I am continuing to 
work on outreach to high schools across the 
countrv to promote AIDS awareness, toler- 
ance towards gays, and to use Curtiss story to 
show what life can be like when lived deeply, 
intentionallv and spiritually. "^ 



20 The Independent I January/February 2005 




New York University 




A detail of one of Curtis's paintings 



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The Pay-Off 



Kevin Everson turns the ordinary into the extraordinary 

Bv Laila Lalami 



In the firsr few minutes of Kevin Everson's 
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casting a new feature film, and working on a 



screenpla)' with plav'wright and historian 
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Virginia. 

Born in Mansfield, Ohio, Everson received 
a BFA from the University of Akron, and an 
MFA from Ohio Universit)' in Athens. After 
graduation, he took a position as assistant 
professor of art, first at the University of 
Tennessee and then at the University of 
Virginia at Charlottesville. As an artist, 
Everson is first and foremost a consummate 



craftsman. "Each fall," he says, "1 like to set 
myself up a new goal, a new design, a new 
challenge." As a result, he's built a very 
impressive list of credits in just 10 years: well 
over 20 short films, a few solo screenings, 
dozens of festivals, including Sundance and 
South by Southwest, and numerous grants 
and awards, most notably a Guggenheim and 
an NEA. 

None of this appears to be on Everson's 
mind at the moment, as he's focused on 
Spicebush. "1 just trimmed three minutes from 



22 The Independent I January/February 2005 




Decarrio, Everson's son, at the brick factory in Spicebush (Kevin Everson) 



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Everson's daughter Matilda at Tilly Lake, from Spicebush (Kevin Everson) 



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the version vouvc seen, he tells nic in a 
cheerful voice. We speak the day after he's 
shown it at the Virginia Film Festival, and the 
audience's reaction was part of his decision to 
make a few editorial adjustments. Having 
people respond to his movie is still a new 
experience for him, even though he's a veteran 
of manv festivals. "Did they like if? " 1 ask. 
"Yeah, they did," he says. "Someone came up 
to me and said, '1 liked your film because 
nobody died. Everson laughs again, and we 
chat about what other venues he has in mind 
for the film. He's hoping to premiere it at 
Sundance. 

Originally, Spicehush was supposed to be a 
series of shorts, but Everson thought, given 
his long experience with short films, perhaps 
it was time to try something new. For this 
experimental feature, he used several media 
(16mm, still photography, video) and genres 
(documentary-style scenes, scripted scenes, 
found news footage, and footage doctored to 
look real). Brief stays at the MacDowell and 
Yaddo writer colonies inspired him to struc- 
ture the narrative in chapters, 17 in all. The 
result is a collage representing the African 
American landscape from the mid-20th cen- 
tury to early 21st, a stunning overview of 
black experience in this country, from segre- 



gation to desegregation to resegregation. 
Throughout, Everson also otters peeks 
into labor, love, and conflict. 

The found footage trimi the mid-2()th 
century was hard to come by, and when 
asked why, tlverson says, "Nobody aimed a 
camera at black folks back then." Most of 
vvhats available from that period doesnt 
represent the diversity of black experience, 
but instead it focuses on the serious, news- 
worth\' e\ents trom the civil rights era, like 
school desegregation in the South or 
African Americans hard at work in facto- 
ries, in other words, Everson says, African 
Americans were documented only insofar 
as "they fit within the white culture." 1 ask 
him it his longstanding interest in every- 
day life stems from a desire to document 
current African American life for future 
generations. "Maybe," he says, "but I'm an 
artist first. " He always looks for the art 
object first, regardless of how it fits within 
the larger discourse. "As for righting the 
wrongs of the Western image-making 
machine," Everson quips, "1 just don't 
have the cash for that." 

In his short film work, Everson often 
features characters talking about their jobs 
or learning a new craft. His interest stems 





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January/February 2005 I The Independent 25 




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TEL. 734 995 5356 
FAX. 734 995 5396 




"As for righting the wrongs of the Western 

innage-making machine," Everson quips, 

"I just don't have the cash for that." 



in part from his own working-class back- 
ground and in part from a personal desire to 
know how things work — what makes things 
tick. In his acclaimed short, A Week in The 
Hole (2001), he chronicles a worker's first day 
on the job at a paint factor)', adjusting to 
materials and to his work, learning from oth- 
ers. In Second Shift (1999), he observes a 
guards daily routine of gaining access to a 
correctional facilit}'. In Avenues (2000), a taxi 
cab driver works as a mechanic to keep his 
job. The passing of knowledge from one 
generation to the next (how to mix paints, the 
routine of gaining access to a building, or 
where a lug nut goes on a Buick) is important 
to Everson. He views the workers as artists 
in their own way, preservers and transmitters 
of skills. 

To Everson's surprise, however, his portray- 
als of ordinar}' labor life sometimes seem 
extraordinary to audiences — some people 
even find them "quaint" or "exotic, " maybe 
because they're not accustomed to seeing 
working class people take center stage in 
movies. Interestingly, some audience mem- 
bers, particularly liberals, think that he should 
be using his film work as an opportunity for 
activism. "People have their own narrative, " 
he says, "and when they don't see the expect- 
ed narrative, they get confused. " He's been 
asked why he doesn't do more, but he doesn't 
think that it's his job. As an artist, he's inter- 



ested primarily in the art, even when there is 
a social agenda to it. Besides, he feels that peo- 
ple who have an agenda ought to go work for 
it themselves. 

In addition to his film work, Everson also 
works in photography and sculpture. He car- 
ries with him a sketchbook everywhere he 
goes, even leaving it by his bedside when he 
goes to sleep. He writes or sketches out all his 
ideas but usually decides on a medium later, 
depending on a few considerations — artistic 
as well as monetar\'. Money worries are always 
in the background as he strives to get financ- 
ing for projects, but Everson wouldn't trade 
his artist's life for any other. "I can't afford to 
do it, and I can't afford not to do it," he says. 

Appropriately enough, his next feature film 
is about a bank teller whose branch is held up. 
Everson was inspired by his mother's own 
experience as a bank clerk during a robbery 
and the ease with which the FBI found the 
thieves. (It took the federal agents rwo hours 
to make an arrest.) The film also features a 
race car driver, another occupation where peo- 
ple expect the worst, but Everson tries to draw 
relationships between the t%vo starkly different 
jobs, both of which are done behind three- 
quarter-inch plexiglass. Scouting is being 
done by Virginia's film commission, and cast- 
ing is already well under way. By the time the 
shoot wraps, Everson will probably already be 
well into his next project, "k 



26 The Independent I January/February 2005 



/ the Documentary Doctor 




Fernanda Rossi 



Dear Doc Doctor: 

Is a short film the obligatory starting 
point of a filmmaking career? If so, what 
can I do with it when it's finished? It 
doesn't seem to make financial sense to 
make a short. 

Some filmmakers start with a short citiicr 
while in film school or out on their own, and 
that initial piece sometimes becomes their call- 
ing card for Future unrelated documentaries. 
Others use their short as a sample or sort of 
fi,mdraising trailer to raise money for the tull- 
length version. And many others make shorts 
and continue making shorts just because that's 
the format they want to work on. 

In all cases, a short is a great chance to 
learn and experiment. That short will also 
tell investors and producers that \ou under- 
stand the overall process of filmmaking from 
camera shots and sound to editing and post. 
However, a short cannot teach you the stor\- 
structure demands of a full-length film or 
how to navigate the distribution maze of 
long-format documentaries, because the pro- 
cedure has no parallel. 



That's wh\' attorne)' and producer's rep 
Innes Smolansky recommends: "In my expe- 
rience, most of the filmmakers that approach 
me to represent them have done a short first. 
However, if a filmmaker has the means and 
resources to make a feature-length film, I 
would suggest they do that." 

.^nd that's what filmmaker Leslie 
Shearing did with her film UiiHreirivl 
(200.^). She went for the feature-length film 
first, while keeping her expenses within a 
moderate budgeted short — only possible 
thanks to new technology. "It was easier to 
raise money for a feature-length film because 
it has more potential for financial return, 
and fortunately the subject lent itself to that 
format. So after a successful film festival 
run, her film is opening theatrically — a less 
likely possibility for a short. 

If you are not ready to make the big fea- 
ture-length jump, or you feel \our topic can't 
stretch that far, go with the short. But don't 
forget to have a long-term plan. Your career 
deserves high expectations. 



Dear Doc Doctor: 

Is there a story structure specific to short 
films? I'm told my documentary should be 
a short, but I'm not convinced yet. 

There is a widespread misconception that 
a short is the abridged version of a feature- 
length film. To some degree, it is indeed a 
smaller-scaled version — the budget and 
schedule are compressed in most cases. But 
for everything else, the short is a format in 
and of itself with its own demands, different 
and at times as challenging as any other for- 
mat. Remember the quote attributed to 
Blaise Pascal (and also Cicero): "I didn't have 
time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a 
long one. " 

Ihc misconception is born out of faulty 
analysis of the story structure. There are two 
axes in story structure — the horizontal axis 
and the vertical axis. The horizontal refers 
to the structure curve, the order of the 
scenes, the unfolding of the story, and 
subsequently its length. The vertical axis of 
analysis refers to the cross cut of each scene, 
the amount of characters and subplots, and 



January/February 2005 I Thie Independent 27 




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layers of meaning. 

With a short, most filmmakers place the 
emphasis on the horizontal axis, making sure 
all elements are condensed, or expanded to a 
certain length, disregarding the fact that 
modifying the horizontal axis will inevitably 
affect the vertical axis. A short can rarely sus- 
tain more than one or two story lines and a 
couple of main characters. Polysemy, or mul- 
tiple layers of meanings, is rare, and when it 
is possible, most often each layer of the film 
tends to lose its strength. 

When you are advised to make something 
shorter, in whatever length you are working, 
that is code for: "the structure is not working 
as it is." You will find that the "make it short- 
er" directive doesn't mean whittle away to a 
two-minute piece. Shorter pain does not 
mean less pain. And ultimately you don't 
want your audience to suffer any pain at all. 

Many embrace the short format as a safe 
haven, but the consequences are visible. 
Competition coordinator of the Chicago 
International Film Festival, Philip Bajorat, 
can attest to those consequences after seeing 
1,100 shorts this year, 152 of them docu- 
mentaries. "The most common mistake is 
not to have a focus in the story. There may 
be an interesting subject, but the film does- 
nt go in an interesting direction. Sometimes 
theres no theme or narrative or investiga- 
tion, and instead it feels like the filmmaking 
involved doesn't go much further than set- 
ring up the camera." 

Going for the short format, in a docu- 
mentar)' that you trust has the potential for a 
full-length, will bring a whole new set of 
issues. Instead, why not deal with the foun- 
dational problems first and then see if the 
solution leads to a shorter tormatr And even 
if you skip the short format now, remember 
that sooner or later you will have to shrink 
\our work for the educational market. Think 
bis now while vou can. "k 



Want to ask the Doc Doctor a question for a 
future issue ofThe Independent.' Write to her 
at info @docunientarydoctor. com 



28 The Independent I January/February 2005 





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Chlotrudis 
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B\- Ben Chung 



Several couples chat casually, surround- 
ed mostly by empn- red velvet seats 
inside Brookline, Massachusettss 
Coolidge Corner Theatre in early No\ ember. 
It's 7:12 pm, exactly 12 minutes after the 
lights should have dimmed and about 1 1 after 
the projector should have whirred into action. 
The crowd starts to show signs of restlessness 
just as the screen flickers with the clear sign of 
an uncooperative D\'D player. The manager 
steps fonvard to announce that the screening 
will be delayed yet another five minutes. One 
begins to feel that if this event intends to 
adopt the moniker of "film festival, it will 
have given the concept an emphatically low- 
rent makeo\'er. 

The first night of the Chlotrudis Short 
Film Festival took place on November 1 with 
a second identically programmed evening on 



November 3. Its onl\- the festivals fifth year, 
but it is already undergoing significant 
changes. Formerly a one-night affair at 
Coolidge, a second night has been added 
across the Charles River at Cambridge's 
Brattle Theatre. Though the festival has tradi- 
tionally been held in Februan,- as a lead-in to 
the annual Chlotrudis Awards, an anti-Oscars 
ceremony to recognize achievement in inde- 
pendent film, it has been moved to November 
to avoid schedule crowding and to gi\e it 
stand-alone attention. 

Even as the festival seeks to e.xpand, it 
maintains an inviting small-scale charm. The 
10-film lineup was introduced by the 
Chlotrudis Society's president, Michael 
Colford with warm gratitude, and the festival 
incorporated a silent auction with the 
Coolidge event offering such prizes as hand- 



30 The Independent I January/February 2005 



made quilts and screening time at the theater. 
Of the two directors present to discuss their 
films, one admitted he was missing his bowl- 
ing game to be there. 

Unfortunately, this year's festival encoun- 
tered a number oi problems — most notably, 
poor attendance. As the festival owners 
proudly proclaimed, the last incarnation of 
the festival, held in February earlier this year, 
sold out the Coolidge Corner Theatre, but on 
opening night, the venue was only at about 
one-quarter capacity. The second night also 
fared poorly, with only about 40 filmgoers 
evading post-election trauma to seek enter- 
tainment. The festival organizers quickly 
pointed to the occasion's unfortunate schedul- 
ing as an explanation. Hilary Nieukirk, 
program director for the festival, said, "This 



time of year is tricky with the World Series 
and the election. " 

The films in the 100-minute event were 
also disappointingly middling. Only 10 shorts 
made it through the screening process, a 
notch down from the previous festival's 13. 
Of those 10, the ratio between the mundane 
and the memorable was damningly high. By 
the festival organizers' own admission, this 
was not a particularly good year for submis- 
sions. Colford, also the festival's founder, 
admitted that there were "a lot of bad films 
this year." He attributed the dearth of quality 
films to the calendar shift, which allowed only 
nine months for new submissions between 
this and the last go-around. "There was just 
not enough lead time, " Colford says, so they 
"couldn't <ret the call out earlier. " 



Nevertheless, the collection of films did 
feature some vivid highlights and a particular- 
1\- strong climax, that demonstrate several 
robust auteur talents at work. The first entry, 
StMy Heart, directed by Jason Di Rosso, is a 
heavily narrated character study of a church 
caretaker who gradually becomes obsessed 
with shoplifting. The film features effectively 
bleak black-and-white cinematography and 
some witty visual embellishments, as when 
the protagonist positions a Godzilla amidst a 
set of crosses. But the distractingly overt Pi 
cribbing results in a work in which dourness 
gets the better of it. 

John Jameson's Out and About tracks 
a couple as they simultaneously navigate the 
mazes of video store aisles and relationship 
woes. A good lead performance by Phil 



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January/February 2005 I The Independent 31 




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for submission details go to 
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Van Hest and a handful ot punchy one-Hners 
can't elevate the utterly banal, predictably gen- 
dered dialogue above cutting-room-floor 
Kevin Smith. 

Tico Tico. a small delight by Nisa 
Rauschenberg, pairs a madcap rendition of 
the titular song as performed by Shooby "The 
Human Horn" Taylor with a dynamic 
construction paper collage. Rauschenbergs 
attention to minutiae in the trembling and 
dancing of the images to the beat recalls some 
of the song visualization music videos of 
Michel Gondry, and its position in the 
program was a welcome respite amidst the fes- 
tival's grim first half. 

The subsequent transition from Tico Tico 
to Kirill DavidofF's The Cry was an inexplica- 
bly awkward one, juxtaposing a frothy sing- 
along with a wintry expose of post-tragedy 
Chernob)'!. The grimy, Corbijn-informed 
photograph)- obsesses over destroyed machin- 
eni' and dying Ferris wheels, propelled by a 
muffled children's choir that is ultimately 
besieged bv the buzzing drone of radiation 
detectors. Hilar\- Nieukirk pointed to 
DavidofF's short for its unique style and film 
stock, and indeed, the isolating effect of the 
oversaturated imagery is genuinely evocative, 
particularly in a horrify'ing scene where a 
majestic horse faces imminent death at the 
claws of a pack of wild dogs. 

The most enlightened works arrived at the 
screenings climax in the form of a trifecta of 
flawed but abundantly promising shorts. 
Once Upon a Time There Was a King, directed 
by iMassimiliano Mauceri, depicts a couple in 



a heated row, then recreates it with the char- 
acters roles reversed. The set-up is gimmicky, 
but the tension in the film's one-take 
approach, the flashes of color that emerge out 
of the black-and-white palette and the operat- 
ic musical interludes suggest a firm grasp of 
cinematic forms. The short also raises an 
interesting filmic possibilirv', likely uninten- 
tional, in the framing of the subtitles above 
the actors' heads, evoking creative potential 
for interplay between subtitles and the on- 
screen action. 

Next in the trifecta, the disquieting A 
Trotiblesome Desire, directed by Anna Sikorski, 
manifests the confused desires of a young girl 
for her older sister's lover with startling edits 
and grotesque imagery. With almost no dia- 
logue, the stor)' of the girl's sexual frustration 
is carved in the expressive faces of the three 
leads and represented with a series of bewil- 
dering symbols that include herring eyes bob- 
bing in red soup and slender slits of rice gath- 
ering in the bo\'friend's palm. 

The last in this small group, and this festi- 
vals best, was Fault, a psychological battle of 
homoerotic hostility bervveen a tennis instruc- 
tor and his younger student. The opening 
composition fills the screen with "WAR," 
until the camera pans out to reveal a tennis 
court "\XARNING " sign and an anxious pre- 
pubescent bo\' lobbing tennis balls. Director 
Justin Swibel smears a polyester gloss over the 
vibrant cinematography, faithfully replicating 
the muted, bleached pastels of 70s cinema. 

The festival concluded with three throw- 
av/ay films of dubious quality. Though 



32 The Independent I January/February 2005 




Those failing toabide b 
1. Do not place cioth'Hg to^c 
2. A max»mum cf 6 bans shaii 
3.Pl3yers make calls on own bi 
4. When others are waiting cour^ 
S.Keep controi of«moticns 

6 Players will provide o'' 

7 Sfnilmg In any form • 
3 The ethics of Tcnni* 



ose court privileges 
nets 

■'.. except by instructors 
- played in good faith stand 
ad at end of set in progress. 
>ig should he avoided 
of a 5 minute warm-up 





Josh Podoris as David in Fau/f (Justin Swibel) 



The short also raises an interesting filmic 
possibility, likely unintentional, in the 

framing of the subtitles above the actors' 

heads, evoking creative potential for 

interplay between subtitles and the 

on-screen action. 



Coiford touted his favorite entry at the festi- 
val as Justin Fielding's Dwaine's Big Game — a 
"perfect five-minute movie" — it's ultimately 
an unremarkable vignette about a Bostonian's 
dream to bowl a perfect game. Jane Doe, 
directed by Kramer O'Neill, seeks to decon- 
struct the mundane trappings of suburban 
and female existence, but relies too heavily on 
a nonsensical payoff lor shock value. The final 
short, Ronnie Cramers Highway Amazon, a 
documentary about a female bodybuilder 
who engages in curiously non-sexuai wrestling 
with customers in hotel rooms, merely hints 
at and fails to fully delve into the emotional 
depths of its subject. 



After the 10 films shuffled offscreen, two 
of the directors emerged for a question-and- 
answer session that further emphasized the 
festival's role as a haven for fledgling and often 
penniless filmmakers. Both Fielding {Dwaine's 
Big Came) and Jameson {Out and Ahout) shot 
on digital and credit the format's affordabilirv- 
and proven mainstream appeal in films like 
Collateral, with Jameson noting "if Tom 
Cruise can do it, anyone can. " 

Any festival can have an off year (just look 
at the spott)' Cannes offerings of the past few 
years), and the best that Chlotrudis has to 
offer still shows that the potential of inde- 
pendent filmmakers continues to percolate. ^ 



2 .«> 



O « 



^ 



Januarv/February 2005 I The Independent 33 




David Russell 



B\' Fiona Ng 



David Russell is the go-to man for all 
things short film. In 1996, he started 
Big Film Shorts, a distributor which 
specializes in the unsung short form. Eight 
years later, Russell and his company are get- 
ting ready to partner with Canadian short 
film channel Movieola to launch the first 
short film cable channel in the United States. 
We talked with Russell about the business side 
of short filmmaking. 

Fiona Ng: Talk about the Movieola 
merger. 

David Russell: It's still unofficial, but its 
underway. Movieola has been up and running 
in Canada for over three years as a digital, 
24/7 cable channel for short films. They 
decided it was time to launch in the US [and 
that] they need to have a little bit more con- 
trol over their content. So they were either 
going to have to create their own distribution 
arm or find someone to merge with. That's 
when they approached us. One of the inspira- 
tions for us to consider the offer was so we can 
get into the exhibition business ourselves. 

FN: Movieola will be the first short film 
channel in the United States. Why hasn't 
that been attempted before? 

DR: I think it's because it's so labor inten- 
sive. People have talked about [doing] it, but 
it's such a gargantuan effort to program and to 
get the number of films for content. Most 
people, unfortunately for now, dont know 
enough about short film — they can't conceive 
of it, they don t know how it should be pro- 
grammed. 

Another big problem is marketing. Say we 
have a new, great short film, even though it is 
a festival winner, it's still not enough. Most 
wide audiences dont even know what a short 
is, or they have a preconception that it's a stu- 
dent, grainy thing. So our focus has to revert 
to the old tried-and-true, genre-specific stuff. 




David Russell 

be it DVD collections, video-on-demand, or 
pay-per-view packing. The niche of short film 
is a niche; then you actually have a niche 
within that. [It's important] that an audience 
understands [they are watching] a comedy, 
gay/lesbian, sci-fi, etcetera. To just say, "short 
film channel " is too broad. 

FN: What are some other avenues of 
exhibition for shorts? 

DR: We have buyers and renters, and we 
have broadcasters all over the world. We have 
our video-on-demand, pay-per-view in 
Canada and in the US. We also work with 
Frontier Airlines, providing shorts for their 
Cloud 9 film festival, which is a monthly in- 
flight film festival. 




Rugged Rich and the Ona On a, a short 
distributed by BFS (Eric T. Finkel) 



Many new technologies coming out are 
going to need the short form, like cell phones 
and PDAs — it's happening in Asia and parts 
of Europe already. One of our filmmakers just 
did a 120-minute soap opera series for a cell 
phone compan\- in Denmark, all in one- 
minute episodes. They are delivered daily thru 
people s cell phone subscriptions. That's a new 
kind of film idea. The general 20-minute 
shorts we're used to seeing in festivals would 



not be right for some of these markets. 
Hopefully, if filmmakers know that there is a 
viable market that will actually pay them, they 
will come up with some great ideas for that 
kind of stuff. 

FN: How big is your catalogue? 

DR: About 500 films. 

FN: How do you acquire your titles? 

DR: We go to some festivals and markets, 
and we get a lot of referrals from filmmakers 
we already rep. And a lot of what I call "over- 
the-transom" submissions. People just send us 
their films. It's generally those three ways 
films come to us. We preview each of them to 
decide if we think they are commercially 
viable for distribution. 

FN: WTiat do broadcasters, buyers, 
exhibitors generally want? 

DR: Short comedy, no matter what coun- 
tr)' you are talking to. But that doesn't mean 
there isn't room for a good little drama, or any 
kind of genre-specific stuff. They generally 
want five to 12 minutes, max. But I do rep a 
lot of 30-minute films. Each buyer has their 
own calendar — how often do they buy, how 
big is their budget, and their criteria. 

FN: What are the advantages of being 
represented by a short film distributor like 
you guys? 

DR: Its not so that they can make more 
money, that s for sure. What we can bring is 
our expertise and relationship with buyers 
around the world. We'll put our best effort to 
getting their film out there to commercial 
markets so that filmmakers can hopefully 
move on to their next project. A lot of them 
are ven,' dubious about distributors. But it's 
such hard work. Be it feature or short, part of 
the [filmmaking] process is about including 
the people who know how to get the film out 
there. If the\- want to do that themselves. 



34 The Independent I January/February 2005 



they'll find that that's pretrv' much all they 
do — it takes that much time and effott. 
Forget [about finding the] time to move on to 
another project. 

FN: Do you have any advice for 
short-makers? 

DR: Make sure your film can be seen legal- 
ly. If you are going to go through the effort to 
make a film, why not make it legal.' Then you 
might have a chance to actually get some of 
your money back. 

We've received wonderful films that we 
wished we could rep and knew would sell, but 
[the filmmakers] can't afford to clear their 
music, or have side contracts that are prohib- 
itive, or owe way too much money to SAG. 
Sometimes it's [violation of] trademarks, 
logos, or locations, depending on how the 
locations are used. [Before 1 rep a film], 1 have 
to see all the contracts the producer has with 
everyone — composers, record companies, 
etcetera — to make sure that they really got 
permission to use them. 

FN: Is the "calling card" rationale 
behind short film a myth? 

DR: One of the things that [Hollv\vood] 
will pay attention to is a successful short film. 
If there's some buzz around it, then you'll 
probably get someone to sit down and watch 
it. But the short film as the calling card is only 
good if \'ou have a feature script in your back 
pocket, because it's only good for a meeting. 
There's nothing they are going to do with it. 
The filmmakers I know who've got great 
meetings in Hollywood have done it based on 
very successful five to eight-minute films that 
are not three-act structure. But they are excit- 
ing enough and interesting enough as talent 
to get a meeting. It's up to them from there on 
to convince someone they should be taken 
seriously for another project, "k 





Categories : 

Narrative Feature 
Narrative Short 
Documentary 
Feature 

Documentary Short 
Foreign Feature 
Foreign Short 
Experimental 
Animation 



2nd TRENTON FILM FESTIVAL 
CALL FOR ENTRIES 

The Trenton Film Festival asks filmmakers from around ttie world to 
submit films for the 2nd Trenton Film Festival. April 29-May 1, 2005, 
in New Jersey's capital city Over sixty short films and seventeen 
feature films were screened last year. Win cash prizes and the 
"Ernie" l-Beam trophy Filmmakers can submit via WIthoutabox or 
our pdf submission form at wvwvTRENTONFILMFESTIVAL.org 

ALL ENTRIES MUST BE POSTMARKED BY FEBRUARY 1. 2005 
Submission Fees: $45 Feature: $35 Short, $25 Student Disc, (w/ID) 

Submission Form & check to: 
Trenton Film Festival Submissions. 
PO Box 22430, Trenton, NJ 08607 

More info: visit wwwTrenlonFllmFestlval org or call 609-396-6966 




Jflorc^ 20(95 

Please come to our festival 
Marcfi9-15 



Please visit our website 
nyuff.com 




Pacific Islanders in Communicat' 



Spots 
2005 

www.piccom.org 

Phoio courtesy of Punk Ptoduclions 



Pacific Islanders in Communications 
(PIC) seeks proposals for short 
digital video works no longer 
than two minutes, which explore 
Pacific Islander cultural identity. 
What makes you Pacific Islander? 
What defines you? Works must 
be intended for national public 
television. 



Awards up to $5,000 

Applications available online 
or contact Gus Cobb-Adams 
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gcobb-adams@piccom.org. 

Deadline: Friday, 
February 25, 2005 



Pcimary support for PIC is provided t)y the Corporation for Public Broadcasting 



January/February 2005 I The independent 35 



ON THE SCENE 




u 

c 
CO 



t: 



e: 
e: 
N 



The 25 th 

Anniversary Asbury 

Shorts Show 



By Colin Ginks 



For 25 years the Asbury Shorts of New York has provided a wel- 
come home for the short film in the somewhat nebulous territo- 
ry known as New York State, happily accommodating Oscar 
winners and unknowns in the same bill, while adding a dash of zany 
fun to the mix. This year's anniversary celebration was for the most part 
programmed as a "Best of Asbury Shorts," and did not disappoint. 
Certainly, the content was heavily biased toward the last 1 5 years or the 
much more recent past, enough to pose the question as to whether 
short films were even any good before 1990. But there was enough in 
evidence to prove that a consistent trail of quality and diversity has 
passed through the Asbury Shorts Show during its 25-year run. 

As with previous years, the festival was comprised of two events — 
one at its "spiritual home," the New York Institute of Technology in 
Old Westbury, Long Island, and the other at the Tishman Auditorium 
of The New School in Manhattan. In the past, festival screenings have 
been shown at various Manhattan locations such as the Fashion 
Institute of Technology and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Doug 



LeClaire, who has served as Asbury's director since the group's incep- 
tion in 1980, understands the importance of having a forum in the 
city. "We have effectively been a travel show for the past five years, but 
our base is New York, where we have developed our audience and a 
loyal following which has grown with us," he says. "It is also the flag- 
ship show of the festival, where we show our new entries." 

The Long Island show this year, fashioned as a sentimental tribute 
to Asbury's roots there, was well-attended by a good-natured mix of 
Long Island media and business luminaries, the general public, and the 
film student population, who according to LeClaire, came for the 
opportunity to "see world class films, which might inspire them to 
upgrade their aspirations and pursue the film business." Notable films 
in Long Island included the crowd pleasers Lunch, directed by 
Matthew Ehlers (a finalist at Sundance in 2001 and the Chrysler 
Million Dollar Shorts Competition), This is John (2003) by Jay and 
Mark Duplass, and festival perennial, Zen and the Art of Landscaping, 
by David Kartch (the film is also part of the permanent collection of 



36 The Independent I January/February 2005 



shorts at the Museum of Film and Television 
in New York). 

International works made their mark and 
apart from the belly laughs provoked by 
Belgian noir-ish fave The Bloody Olive (1996) 
by Vincent Bal, the tone of these films was far 
more somber than the domestic offerings. 
Some of the best short animated features were 
European, including the sublime 1990 Oscar 
winner Balance, by Christophe Lauenstein of 
Germany. One of the world's most heralded 
animators, Jan Svankmajer of Prague, was rep- 
resented by Darkness/Light/Darkness (1989), 
in which claymation was used to stunning 
effect. But you have to hand it to American 
filmmaker Kimberly Miner, who in just one 
minute and thirty seconds managed to bring 
the Manhattan house down with her animat- 
ed 2003 Student Academy Award Winner, 
Perpetual Motion. 

Leafing through the program notes, much 
is made of Oscar-winning director John 
Avildsen dropping his pants in front of" the 
crowd as a presenter at Asbury in 1990 — a 
somewhat warped gesture of solidarity in 
honor of the exposure of shorts (get it?) that 
also kicked off a spate of celebrity interest in 
Asbury (John Turturro, Andrew Bergman, 
Harvey Keitel, Matthew Modine and Edie 
Faico, among others). According to LeCiaire, 
the incident serves to illustrate the unpre- 
dictable, sheer fun quotient of the festival 
from its beginning to its present incarnation. 

"The general public doesn't go to film fes- 




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Mitchell Rose's Elevator World 



rivals," says LeCiaire, who then proceeds to 
work hard at proving himself wrong ever)' 
\ear. "We tr\' to promote the festival as more 
of an 'off-Broadway' show than a film festival 
per se, which takes place in ever)' cit\' in the 
United States and is dominated by the screen- 
ing, seminar, and master class formula. Also, 
they have to do this without a lot oi money to 
go around, while catering to the same 
audience of filmmakers, distributors, and the 
press. We're trying to get to people that dont 
have knowledge about good short films, 
which are never seen in theatres. When these 
same people watch the Academy Awards, they 
ask: 'Where are these films, and where can 
we see them?" Well, they can see them at 
Asbury Shorts." 

Though the festival endeavors to attract 
the best and has earned followers and a fine 
reputation within the independent film 
industry, the emphasis is on this being a non- 
exclusive 'famiK' affair. LeCiaire says that the 
selection process has no specific guideline, but 
simply tries to be audience-friendly. "We are 
not an issue-related festival," he says. "We 
tend to lean towards fast-paced comedies but 



will venture beyond that." An example of ven- 
turing beyond is demonstrated by Asbury's 
screening of The Show (2003), a powerful new 
entry from Cruz Angeles, winner of the 
Directors Guild of America Award for Best 
Latino Student Filmmaker. The film is a dra- 
matic commentar}' on the last moments of 
one mans life as seen by the graphic photo- 
graph of his lynching when it resurfaces in an 
art gallery. 

"WTiile not the most obvious venue for the 
showcasing of new talent (Manhattanites 
scowl at getting the Long Island Rail Road at 
the best of times), the New York Institute of 
Technolog)' is regarded as an innovator in the 
film industf)' for its sophisticated digital/ani- 
mation work — a NYIT research group 
formed in 1974 pioneered 3-D computer ani- 
mation for neark two decades and various 
Pixar, Disney, and DreamWorks movers and 
shakers are N\1T alumni. 

Asbur\- Shorts was actually started at N^TT 
in 1980 — Manfred Kirchheimer (director of 
the forthcoming doc Tall) was a film instruc- 
tor there during the 70s, and LeCiaire, along 
with lighting director Ray Preziosi and tech- 



38 The Independent I January/February 2005 




Jon Avner and Mary-Louise Parker in Stephen Marro's The Quality of Mercy, an award- 
winning short featured at the 25th Asbury Shorts Show 



nical director Michael Sanchez, were his stu- 
dents. "We were feeding on [Kirchhemier's] 
inspirational guidance to the extent of want- 
ing to screen local student films — in a church 
basement in Westbury," LeClaire says. As the 
festival gained momentum from 1988 
onwards, it had screenings at the Lake Placid 
Center for the Arts, guested at the Woodstock 
Film Festival and also Visions Cinema in 
Washington DC. "We never wanted to com- 
pete with the resident film festivals and never 
promoted ourselves as such," LeClaire says. 
This led to invites for successful screenings at 
London's Royal Festival Hall in 1996 and a 
trip to Berlin in 2001 as guests of a daily 
German newspaper. 

Asbury is also known for doggedly pursu- 
ing commercial ad directors — since 1999, 
their fall show in Manhattan allows them to 
promote new talent to advertising agencies 
and television companies. "We have generated 
interest in about six or seven filmmakers," 




LeClaire says. "We try and make the hook-up 
but after that, it's up to them." Matthew 
Elhers {Lunch), though a little skeptical about 
the viabilit)' of such a free-flowing exchange of 
creative talent, recognizes that some new 
directors have managed to get bread-and-but- 
ter commercial work, and readily admits he 
wouldn't turn the work down himself. 

After 25 years, LeClaire says: "Lm most 
proud of having been a.s.sociated with so many 
filmmakers who have agreed to let us use their 
films, and the fact that Asbury Shorts has 
achieved so much without major sponsorship 
or advertising. We call ourselves New York's 
most popular unknown film festival." And 
what of the future? "We would like to present 
an Asbury Shorts event in every major city in 
the world, " he says. "A new goal could possi- 
bly be the setting up of a long-run theatrical 
presentation on a nightly basis in New York — 
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January/February 2005 I The Independent 39 



The Anatomy 

a Short 




BY MARISA S. OLSON 

Ten years ago nvo witn' gents from Colorado, Trey Parker and 
Matt Stone, made a riotous animated short called The Spirit of 
Christmas (aka Jesus vs. Santa). 1 he film was originalU- com- 
missioned by Fox executive Brian Graden as a personal holida\' card 
but was ultimately turned down due to its explicit content. It did not 
hit a single festival or win any awards, but it did form the protor\pe for 
a television phenomenon, thus launching the careers of the duo now 
affectionately known as The South Park Gu\s. 

While many of cinemas earliest films were short in length, as the 
medium expanded and became more narrative-based, shorts were rele- 
gated to the dual personae of experimental work (think Uri Chien 
Andelou, 1929) and star vehicle (witness Sofia Coppola's 1998 filtn. 
Lick the Star). But today, the short has become a venerable art form 
with a plethora of festivals and awards devoted to the genre, not only 
reinforcing its earlier legitimac)', but also establishing precedents, aes- 
thetics, and benchmarks for its success. Whereas a directors greatest 
hope may once have been to see her short preface a festival feature, she 
can now have her work seen on a far vaster circuit of solo screenings. 

On a dail\- basis, shorts are screened ,u DIV (Do It Yourself) 
microcinemas in cities everyvs'here — from IFP/New York's Buzz Cuts 
series at the Two Boots Pioneer theater in Manhattan to San Francisco's 
backyard Cole Valley Film Festival. And shorts are all over T\'. The 



short, once interstitial filler between longer programs, is now taking 
center stage on cable channels like Sundance or Movieola (see page 34), 
the worlds first digital cable channel dedicated to shorts, which has 
now begun its fourth year of broadcast in Canada. In addition, IFC 
occasionally showcases shorts and in November Comedy Central 
began a weekl\- half-hour series of comedic shorts called "Jump Cuts." 

Joel S. Bachar, founder of Microcinema International and the 
Independent Exposure screening series, says that even if a filmmaker 
doesnt net a distribution contract with a channel or some other 
"Hollywood-based bottleneck," there is a glut of emergent independ- 
ent distributors ready to pick up short films. His Blackchair D\'D 
division is a good example. "We are going out there and finding all of 
the under-represented feature films and short film compilations avail- 
able on DVD and pushing them into the mainstream marketplace," 
Bachar sa\s. 

Ihe early shorts of then-music video star Spike Jonze have sudden- 
1\' made their wa\- into the glossy The Work of Director Spike Jonze unA 
packaged together with the works of colleagues Chris Cunningham 
and Michel Ciondr\-. These titles sit beside compilations ranging from 
censored commercials to Stan Brakhage animations. DVDs seem to 
merely scratch the surface of the distribution channels offered by new 
technologies. Today one can watch shorts almost anywhere, from their 



40 The Independent I January/February 2005 




The 1929 experimental film Un Chien Andelou. directed by Luis Bufiuel and written by Buiiuel and Salvador Dali 



cell phone to their airline's in-flight programming. And then there's the 
web. There, viewers can download countless short films ranging from 
the Library of Congress's digitized catalogue of early actualities to the 
shorts toinniissioned b\' BMW and Ania/on [o lure art-savvv con- 
sumers. 

"The short film is increasing!)- becoming respected as an ,\r{ form in 
its own right," says Shane Smith, artistic director of the ^X'orldv^ide 
Short Film Festival at the Canadian Film Centre. "And in some ways, 
the internet can take some credit for that.' Smith is thankful to the web 
for "increasing the awareness that short films actualU' exist — before the 
internet, short films were that category at the Oscars that you had no 
idea about." Now, he sa\'s, "the prevalence of shorts on the internet has, 
at the ver\' least, put the words 'short film' into man\' more people's 
vocabular)'. Of course, those people often think that a short film is a 
three-minute piece that has a funny joke at the end, but at least they're 
aware of shorts. And that's a step forward." 

In the nanosecond world of computers, that awareness has the 
potential to spread quickly. Take the example of 405, the 2000 short 
b\' Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt in which police block off a section 
t)f the freeway to allow an airplane to make an emergency landing. The 
film is approaching five million hits on ifilm.com — directors of indie 
shorts could never reel in such audiences before the internet. 



"The audiences have changed because people expect more choice," 
Bachar says. "The internet has done a great job of turning people on to 
all .sorts of choices for information, entertainment, and shopping." 
Bracketing the refinement of one's palate that comes with so much 
sampling, film programmers seem to think thai the increase in supply 
has generated an increase in demand. 

Clenevieve V'illaflor, one of ihree members of the selection commit- 
tee for the New York Film Festival Short Films program of the Film 
Societv- of Lincoln Cx-nter, believes that audiences have become more 
appreciative of short films. "1 heard someone in the lobby of Avery 
Fisher lament that there was no short film with the New York Film 
Festival Opening Night film," Villaflor says. "No longer are short films 
there so that you can arrive late to a film." 

Still, festival staffs that balance features and shorts regret the obsta- 
cles of luring "the mainstream " into making short programs a viewing 
priority. The growing sentiment is that theater-goers find features a 
better bang for their buck. And at the same time. Smith points out, 
"people love shorts when they see them, but there are so many market- 
ing dollars being thrown at features, video games, and other forms of 
entertainment that shorts cant cut through the clutter of advertising 
and options that bombard us. " 

Somehow, this seems in keeping with what Smith sees as the core 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 41 




The experimental film Ryan is an animated biopic of celebrated Canadian animator Ryan Larkin (Chris Landreth) 

audience for shorts: the younger demographic. "They've grown up with the internet and are comfortable watching shorts 
on their computer, and emailing them to friends. They watch MTV, email video clips to their friends' cell phones and PDAs, 
and make shorts on their computers at home." Smith finds that short films are perfect for the short-attention-span genera- 
tion because they are "all killer, no filler.' Still, he warns, "Short film is an industn,', but it's a small one — you re never going 
to get rich, and most of the people in it are in it because they re passionate about the work. " As it turns out, the work itself 
has changed with the shifts in the short genre. 

The predominant creative struggle these days is between the short film as an artwork and the short as a means of achiev- 
ing greater Hollywood success. Writers, directors, performers, programmers, and audiences all seem complicit in this strug- 
gle. "I'd love to see the day when short films are as accepted and exulted as an art form in the way that short stories are," 
Smith says. "No one accuses short stor\' writers of wanting to write novels. But because so many short filmmakers do want 
to make features, it's not an entirely fair comparison. " 

Smith sees at least half of the shorts being produced as "calling card" vehicles. "Look what I can do," he says with mock 
enthusiasm. "Please let me make a feature, direct TV, or shoot a music video or commercial." But ultimately Smith sees no 
real problem with this relationship. "Unless the short is the first act of a feature and doesnt stand alone on its own merits," 
he says. "Then it's not a short film, it's a trailer." 

The quasi-complete/quasi-trailer phenomenon is a trend with a legac)'. Villaflor notes that each year's submissions to the 
IFF seem almost to have their own theme, with 2002 bringing in the post-9/1 1 patriot acts and this year offering numer- 
ous meditations on the concept of time. But, in general, she says, "I have noticed there are more short films that are stud- 
ies of longer films that directors are hoping to make. It allows them to test the waters in terms of characters, etcetera." 

What have not changed in the world of short films are the genres that artists and audiences find compelling. Economic 
shifts and the development of network technologies just haven't proven mighty enough to sway whatever it is in human 
nature that led to the rise of a sci-fi geek culture, to a fascination with coming-of-age pics, or to the weakness for readily 
available goods that finds war shorts cropping up in ever)' major city with an army surplus store. 

The radical changes we have seen are due to technolog)', says Kim Adelman, author of The Ultimate Filmmaker's Guide 
to Short Films (Michael Wiese, 2004). "DV filmmaking is more democratic, allowing more than just film school students 



42 The Independent I January/February 2005 




to make films. Also, desktop filmmaking means something like the 
computer-generated jet landing in 405 can be made by two guys on 
their home computer." 

"Animation, Adelman says, "has obviously been radically liberated 
b\' computer programs." And manifestations of this liberation prolifer- 
ate. Among the most noteworthy is the experimental Canadian film, 
Ryan (2004), Chris Landreths animated biopic of celebrated Canadian 
animator Ryan Larkin. The piece won awards at C^annes and loronto's 
Worldwide Short Festival and has been swarmed by Oscar buzz, large- 
1\' for its success in pushing the animated medium to tell a story about 
pushing animation in an earlier era ol technological innovation. 

"All in all," Bachar says, "I still say that short films tend to be very 
personal films." Nevertheless, new technologies have affected the 
means by which individuals tell their stories — and even the time that 
it takes them to do so. Smith recalls that shorts about 9/1 1 were out in 
a matter of hours, whereas it took a year tor the first feature film about 
the events of that da\' to reach audiences. 

But if directors are no longer bound by the constraints of produc- 
tion time and money, they are still beholden to a few formal standards. 
The most binding of these are the unspoken laws of length. Adelman, 
who also teaches "Making and Marketing the Short Film" at UCLA, 
advises filmmakers to be aware that "what HolU-wood and indie 
financers are looking for is a unique voice and true talent." She believes 
that it's easier to "show that spark" in a shorter film than a longer one. 
Once upon a time filmmakers were called on to make short films that 



clocked in at around 30 minutes, she says, "to prove that they had the 
chops to handle shooting a feature film." 

Adelman says that this is no longer true. "Most of the impressive 
and original shorts are trul\' short," meaning less than ten minutes. She 
adds, "It's a rare Hollv\vood bigwig who has 30 minutes to invest in 
watching a short. The\' II onl\- watch the first few minutes and they can 
tell from that if the filmmaker has talent. 

Ihe author has worked out a whole matri.x of dos and donts in the 
length department. "As for the marketplace, short — 10 minutes or less, 
or best five minutes or less — is the way to go." She says many distrib- 
utors won't even look at a short that is 1 5 minutes because they don't 
believe it will sell. The demand for shorter interstitials does also persist 
and, of course, bandwidth issues mean that smaller is better for the 
internet and wireless devices. Still, Adelman concedes there are excep- 
tions to every rule — memorably. Two Soldiers, Aaron Schneider's 40- 
minute short film that won the Academy Award last year for Best Live 
Action Short Film, after collecting a slew of festival prizes. 

In the end, the million-dollar question becomes that of how a short 
can come to be considered a success, especiall)' in an era of shifting 
benchmarks. Smith observes, "Making a profit on a short film almost 
never happens, so monetary benchmarks dont really figure into the 
success-o-meter for shorts." Nonetheless, Adelman recalls that, in 
1999, Joe Nussbaum seemed to have hit the elusive mark with George 
Lucas in Love, a funny spoof about Lucas's days as a struggling film stu- 
dent in the 60s. The film was a smash at festivals and became a legend 
when it outsold the newest Star Wars chapter on Amazon when it was 
released on video. It garnered lucrative distribution deals, more than 
broke even, and yet it took years before Nussbaum made it to major 
theatres with the teen fiop S/eepover {2004). 

The key, critics advise, is to stay focused on personal success: mak- 
ing a work of art, telling a moving story, even meeting the ambitious 
goal of finishing a film in the first place. The new markets and tech- 
nologies simpK' help people do this. "That's probably the most beauti- 
ful thing about short film," Smith says. "It's one of the most demo- 
cratic, accessible ways to create moving images and to share your 
story — that, and the passion. That's why so many people make 
shorts — they've got something the\' want to sav." "k 



January/February 2005 I Tfie Independent 43 



Short 
People 



Short filmmakers are a diverse bunch with varying 
motivations and inspirations for working in the 
short format, and with widely divergent results. So 
to take the temperature of the shorts scene for the upcom- 
ing festival season, we checked in with a number of short 
filmmakers who've made their mark in recent years, to see 
what they're up to far 2005. 



li 



A roundup of some top short-makers 



BY MARGARET COBLE 
Gina Levy 

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Gina Levy captured the attention of festival audi- 
ences from Sundance to Silverdocs with her first documentary short, the disturbing 
drug-addicted mother-son portrait Foo Foo Dust (2003), which she co-directed with 
filmmaking partner Eric Johnson. 

Her current project, however, is a return to the fictional format of her first film Ask 
Again Later (7003), which she adapted from the Joyce Carol Oates short story 
"Revenge of the Foot." "I feel like Fve progressed as a filmmaker, so I want to do 
another fiction short," Lev}' says about Darkest Africa, the working title for her new 
self-penned project in pre-production. "It's basically about an American woman who 
travels to Africa. Its about fear, cultural issues, America in the world, and gender 
issues." 

Le\y"s also working with a distributor to cull a collection of edg\' documentan,- shorts (Foo Foo Dw^r includ- 
ed) for theatrical release, tentatively tided Midnight Docs. "The main challenge with short films is that they re 
no less expensive or time consuming to make, but there really are ver}- few avenues to make vour money 
back," Le\y says. "If you put a collection of short docs together, there "s more flexibilitj' in terms of getting 
things into the theater." www.ginalevT.com 





Harvey Wang 

Harvey Wang is an accomplished photographer, commercial director, and documentarv' filmmaker with 
an impressive resume. He's also an avid short-maker, particularly of the six-minute varietv'. "I've probably 
made about 25 short films, and they range from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, but I seem to like six minutes," 
Wang says with a laugh, in a phone interview from his home in Brooklyn. 

His latest is called Vault Ke)'S, a poignant reflection on aging through home videos of his father as he 
walks around the house, explaining his finances and important papers, in preparation for his 
death. Covering a time span of 12 years, it becomes a walk through the elder Wang's life, and 
shows his gradual deterioration. "It's verv' touching," says Wang the filmmaker. "A lot of my life 
as a documentarian has been looking outward, but it's also great to mine my own life for the 
material." 

Wang feels his experience as a commercial director not only freed up his photography to be 
less commercial, but also inspired the more personal direction he's taken with his short film- 
making. "I didn't need big budgets, big crews, or even really a script — I could just do them 
mvself," he said. "And it doesn't really matter, the length. It just matters if you're connecting 
with the heart of the subject or the viewer. A short film, like any film, should touch somebody. " 
wvvw. harvevwan e. co m 



44 The Independent I Januarv/Februan/ 2005 



Terri Edda Miller 

Terri Edda Miller spent three quarters of the past year traveling the festival circuit to promote her buzz-short 
DysenchantecL an eight-minute skit that places classic fairytale characters in modern-day group therapy, kvetching about their 
unhappily-ever-after lives. It's been a hit with critics and audiences alike, taking the film from Sundance to Sydney and most 
recently Lunafest, the 70-ciry breast cancer fundraising tour that plays across the United States through March 2005. 

"That's the thing that's really interesting about a short film, the life of it — it's a huge responsibilirv-, " Miller says, describ- 
ing the lengthy process from pre-production through the end of a film's festival run (Dysenchantedh^s had 50 screenings). 
But all that traveling is taking a toll on her creativity'. "At one point, I had to stop and become a hermit and start to write! " 
She's currently working on a screenplay and pitching a book adaptation 
from material submitted to her due in part to the success of Dysenchanted. 

Despite her frustration with the lack of commercial outlets and finan- 
cial return on shorts. Miller remains positive about her experience in the 
genre. "The best thing about working on a short is that for the filmmak- 
er who is a writer-director, it's all \ou," she says. "And that total creative 
freedom is unbelievably fun and satisfi,'ing and gratifv'ing. " She mentions 
the burgeoning commercial arena of "branded " shorts as one possibilin' 
for future short projects. "Id do it if the opportunity came up," she says. 

www.dvsenchanted.com 

A scene from Miller's Dysenchanted 





Jesse Epstein 

.■\n NYU grad with a background in media activism, Jesse Epstein won a 
|ur\ Award from last year's Sundance Online Film Festival for her documen- 
tary short Wet Dreams and False Images, which explores issues at the intersec- 
tion of body image, the beauty industry, and commercial media. "My initial 
interest in filmmaking started off from that angle of thinking of media as a tool 
to get ideas across and to start discussion," Epstein says. "With Wet Dreams, I 
was trying to experiment with how do you take a social issue and then make it into a story where 
something's happening in the present tense? How do you take someone on a journey and show 
them getting educated?" 

Wet Dreams was conceived as the first of four freestanding shorts themed around body image 
that Epstein hopes to tie together into a one-hour program. "One is about aging; one is about a 
friend of mine who is a gay man, who has his own issues; and the second one is about an actor, a 
fiction script actually, " she says. 

She's also working with Ohms Media Collective on a documentan,' feature called Divided We 
Stand: The Stoiy of Three Patriots, which follows the lives of a photojournalist, a marine, and an 
anti-war activist in an attempt to defme what patriotism means to each of them. 
vvw\v.newdav.com, www.ohmsmedia.org 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 45 



Tom Wilson 

"What I've done in the past is features," says writer-producer-actor Tom Wilson. 
Most people go the other way." Indeed, most do, but Wilson is a decidedly iconoclas- 
tic filmmaker and entrepreneur. Noted for writing, producing and starring in the 
HolK-wood mockumentary They Shoot Movies, Don't They'f (2000), which has a cult-like 
following due to repeated airings on the Independent Film Channel, Wilson is now 
working on rvvo short projects that embody his wicked sense of humor. 

1 he first is Pulling Rank, a 12-minute romantic comedy featuring characters cheekily 

named General Foods, General Motors, General Electric, Colonel Sanders, and Sergeant 

Flea Collar. "It's this wacky comedy piece, kind of Pythonesque," Wilson says. "It's not 

really a commentary on the military, it just uses the military as a vehicle." 

The other is a short to promote his new documentar)' feature Sleep Across America, presentK' in post-production, in which 

Wilson crowns himsell The King of Sleep and quite literally dozes his way from Los Angeles to New York in a customized 

Winnebago dubbed The Sleepmobile, outfitted by sleep-industry sponsors. w\\'w.sleepacrossamerica.com 





Martina Radwan 

German-born cinematogra- 
pher Martina Radwan cites pol- 
itics as the impetus for her short 
film work. "I am happ)' as a DP, 
to find visual language for other 
directors," she says. "But when 
it comes to certain political top- 
ics that I don't find covered else- 
where, or not the way I want to 
see it, I am motivated to tell the story my way." 

Her four-minute experimental short Spring In Awe (2003) — which won the Media Awareness 
Award from AIVF at MediaRights' 2004 Media That Matters Film Festival — is a perfect example, 
eloquently expressing her outrage about the media's coverage of the war in Iraq via a dreamy music 
video collage of Times Square imager)'. "I wanted to find a way to put people in a certain mood or 
create emotions rather then telling a story," she says. 

Wex next short project is a documentary about post-9/1 1 US immigration policies — specifically 
the controversial Special Registration Program — called Postcards From Afar. In it, she follows six 
men who are forced to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, detailing how the 
experience affected them and their families. 



T^ A ^ l» ' , Bo Mehrad 

A contributing editor to this publication and information ser\'ices director of The 
Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, Bo Mehrad likes to keep busy. After 
directing a string of TV commercials in recent \'ears, Nlehrad is currentl\- in development 
on his narrative feature Diamond Days ifter wrapping the 10-minute romantic comedy 
Ping Pong Love, and has just started shooting a new short. Thirst)'. 

"Directing for me is a vocation," Mehrad says. "The more \-ou do, the better you get. And 
shorts are a great opportunit)- to do that. The stories are contained, but there's not so 
much on the line. And it keeps me on top of my game." 

Ping Pong Love, a short romantic corned}' about a screenwriter with writers block who 
unwittingly serves as matchmaker for his two neighbors, was shot on 35mm and written by Dan McCormick. "When you're an independent, 
there's this whole thing that you should be a writer-director," Mehrad says, recounting the genesis of Ping Pong. "But for the life of me, I 
couldn't come up with a good concept for a short." McCormick's 10-page script proved to be just what he was looking for. "It jumped off the 
pages," he says. "It was funny. It was great. And there's a positive detachment that came from working with material that I hadn't written.' 

Thirsty, on the other hand, is something Mehrad collaborated on with writer Caitiin Cassaro. It's a darker comedy, shot on super 16mm for 
a more experimental feel. "[Writing a short] is a different kind of muscle than writing a feature," he says. "But the same rules apply. It's just that 
\our first act is two pages rather than thirt)." www.uglybettv'.com 




46 Ttie Independent I January/February 2005 




Pete Chatmon 

Pete Chatmon debuted at Sundance in 2001 with his NYU thesis short 3D, a 
25-minute drama that went on to enjoy a successful festival circuit run. Since 
then, he's gotten his production company Double 7 Film off the ground, com- 
pleted the comedy short Chameleon (2003), and is in pre-production on his first 
feature, a romantic drama called Premium. 

His most recently completed short, the seven-minute Confessions of CooL offers 
an interesting rwist on the rv'pical short-film-as-calling-card concept. "'Confessions 
I of Coot IS basically about a character, a guy named Reginald Coolidge, who goes 
by "Cool," Chatmon says. "Its an expose and deconstruction of what it is to be 
mid-20s and black. It's pretry heartfelt, but it's funny and it deals with the stereotypes at the same 
time. It's definitely a stand-alone short, but the 'Cool' character is also the lead in my feature that 
we're raising money for. I figured, if you can make something that can stand alone and get people 
intrigued [by the character], then you can say, 'This guy right here that you liked so much is what 
the next film is about." www.double7inc.com 




Garret Savage 

Brooklyn-based Carret 
Savage says he makes films 
because it's fun. "There's not 
much else I'd rather be 
doing," he says. And his 
''^rtta^ '^^^H active resume proves it. In 
^^^^M ^^ the past year and a half he's 

yfl^^KF^W completed three shorts: For 

Food (2003), an eight- 
minute comedy about unemployed New Yorkers doing offteat things 
on the streets to make money; 4-Cyclinder 400 (2004), a 23-minute 
doc about a backyard car race in rural upstate New York; and Shoot 
The Freak (2004), a nine-minute ode to the popular Coney Island live 
action shooting gallery game. 

As an editor, actor and director, Savage has worn many filmmak- 
ing hats, but is taking his time getting to feature-length projects. "I'm 
looking at [shorts] as a great chance to tell a really tight story on a 
smaller scale and get better at filmmaking much faster than if 1 tried 
to make one feature that would take many years," he says. 

His next short in pre-production is a fictional piece about a woman 
with Alzheimer's disease, inspired in part by his late grandmother. 
"[It] isn't going to be a dramatization of her experience, per se, but 
knowing her and being with her has opened my heart to what it must 
be like as Alzheimer's begins its slow assault on your mind," he says. 
"It terrifies me, so I'm exploring that loss of control and blurring of 
self-identity. " www.garretsavage.com 




Jason Reitman 

Acclaimed commer- 
cial director and budding 

feature director Jason A scene from Reitmans Consenf 

Reitman has got making 

shorts down to a set schedule. "I want to do one a year," he says, while 
detailing his current slate, which includes directing multiple commercials, 
writing a screenplay (Home), and preparing to direct his debut feature, 
Thank You For Smoking, an adaptation of the same-titled book by 
Christopher Biicklcv. "Its a valid medium, he savs. ""1 know most people 
don't think of it as relevant, only as a calling card, but I see it as a form of 
storytelling. In literature short stories are taken seriously, and some authors 
are only known for short stories. In fact, I'd like to one day make a feature 
of short films, just like there are books of short stories. " 

Son of famed film director Ivan Reitman [Ghosthusters), Jason has had 
a long string of successful and award-winning shorts, including Operation 
(1998), H@ (1999), In God We Trust (2000), gulp (2001), and most 
recently. Consent, a humorous six-minute spoof on the concept of sexual 
negotiation which took honors at the 2004 Aspen Shortsfest and the 
Seattle International Film Festival and is still active on the festival circuit. 
"I like short films that are entertaining," Reitman says. "Too often [they] 
are these dark sad expressions of life, and while there's a place for and an 
art to that, I love to see entertaining short films because there are so few 
out there." www.tateusa.com 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 47 



Back to 

How (some) shorts grow long 

the Feature 



BY RICK HARRISON 

Along time ago, in a film school tar, far away (from XYU), a 
young man with big dreams and a small bank accoun: made 
a short film with a long title. His name was George. And in 
1970, berween graduating USC's School of Cinema and pursuing a 
master's, George made the student award-winning Electronic 
Labyrinth: THX-1 138 4EB, which he eventually expanded into a fea- 
rure. The first film released by Francis Ford Coppola's American 
Zoetrope Studios, THX 1138 ■was a visionar)', sci-fi, sharp-sounding, 
ground-breaking, dystopian, unmarketable box ofFice dud. 

But like man\' directors who believe like proud parents that their 
special little short films can aspire to one da\' grow up to be fijll length 
feature films, captivating wide audiences tor hours longer than 20 min- 
utes at a time, George's stor)' ends in success. Not, as you might imag- 
ine, because his last name was Lucas and he went on to change film- 
making forever, but simply because he earned the opportunit}- to make 
a feature at all. 

For many fledgling filmmakers in the United States — where about 
4,000 shorts are produced every year, and only around 400 feature 
films are released theatrically — the path presents unique obstacles. Of 
course, nor every short-filmmaker intends to do anything more than 
tell a short-form stor)', such as the case with experimental, abstract, 
slice-of-Iife, and one-joke films. .And not ever\' film that does make the 



attempt busts through from its short origins ro fearure success with the 
impact of Sling Black ( 1 996), Bottle Rocket ( 1 996), Raising Victor Vargas 
(2002), or Napoleon Dynamite (2004). But it's that crucial first step 
that means ever)thing. 

Eight years ago, John Krokidas was earning the distinction as the 
worst intern ever at Sandy Stern and Michael Stipe's production com- 
pany, Single Cell Pictures. "If you called me, rest assured I didn't get 
the message," Stern says with a wry chuckle. Today, Single Cell has 
optioned Krokidass teature-length script that he is set to direct. The 
teature expands on his award-winning 24-minute short Slo-Mo, a styl- 
ized, quirky social-commenting comedy in the broken mold of Charlie 
Kaufman in which the lead character, struggling with writers block 
and abandoned by his girlfriend, finds everyone and everything in the 
c\x\ ot New York zipping b\' in tast motion except him. 

Thirry-year-old Krokidas, with a tuft of chin hair, brown wool-knit 
cap, and eager-to-please eyes, sips on black coffee while explaining that 
he made Slo-Mo at NYU Film School after being dumped five years 
ago, and rhat he had never intended it to be a feature film. "I was done 
with it emotionally and artistically," he says. 

But, he realized rwo inviolate truths of filmmaking: While people 
might love your short, the most common question you will be asked is, 
"What are \ou workin" on next?" So it is crucial that \ou alwavs have 



48 The Independent I January/February 2005 




Avenue Xs director Phil Roc & DP Alfonso Pollard 



a spec-script to pitch. "A great short can get you attention," Krokidas 
says, "but it cant get you work. And the second reality is that it helps 
to be lucky. 

His break came at the First screening of his film in 2001 at the 
Cantor Center at NYU. Somewhere in the crowd ol 200 people, 
attending as a guest ot another director, sat ^X'inona R\der. In an East 
Village bar afterwards, Ryder approached Krokidas and offered to help 
him get an agent if he promised to work with her someday. 

"It was m\- first celebrit)' encounter as an actual filmmaker," he says. 
"And the whole experience was incredibly reafTirming — the feeling you 
get when you realize a whole new world is opening up in front of you. 
Immediately afterwards, I ran to my family who was there and said 
OHMYGODWINONARYDERLOVEDMVFILMAND- 
WANTSTOWORKWITHME!" 

The first challenge for Krokidas, and any other filmmaker consider- 
ing to adapt their short, was determining if he was prepared to remain 
with the same material. He had already lived with Slo-Mo for three 
years, including a year he spent marketing it to festivals and television 
outlets around the world which eventually paid off with a .sale to HBO, 
recouping his costs and allowing him to repay investors, including 
Si, 000 returned to his dentist. 

After girding himself for the \ono haul, Krokidas needed to face the 



new realities of writing and preparing to direct a much longer story on 
a much larger budget. Characters needed stronger motivations and 
back stories, new characters and subplots needed to be created, and the 
somewhat antisocial ending needed to be tweaked so that the paying 
audience could take something awa}' from it and .ippl\ it to their own 
lives, "^'hat people take at face value in a short, the\re going to have 
to challenge in a feature, Krokidas says. 

A budget 20 times as high as his short film means all new actors 
with familiar faces who can sell the film. It means shooting with prop- 
er location fees and licensing instead of stealing shots from subway 
platforms on the sly. "You cant just shoot into a crowd and call them 
extras," Krokidas says. And the higher the budget, the more worried 
the studio becomes about their investment, and the more pressure they 
put on the director. This all assumes that the film will make it through 
studio gates. 

But Stern, whose company produced Being John Malkovkb (1999) 
and first-time director Brian Dannelly's Saved'., boasts boundless confi- 
dence in his one-time crappy intern (who now has a three-picture writ- 
ing deal at Miramax and finished writing a script set to star Goldie 
Hawn, who is also attached as a producer). And Stern considers the 
short film to be his most useful sales tool when they begin pitching it 
to studios and talent. "It's verv hard to set a first-time directors film 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 49 




Drey in Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's Gowanus, Brooklyn 



made," Stern says. "But the short film will open doors. You can see the 
vision oi the feature in that short and know that this director will deliv- 
er what he has on the page." For Stern, it was the feature script that 
caught his attention first, but after seeing the short, he said: "Oh, this 
guy is a filmmaker. He knows what he's doing." 

Kelly DeVine, manager of film acquisitions at IFC, agrees that a 
short can provide an accurate measurement of a writer-director's abili- 
ty. "It shows the industry that you can take an idea on paper and real- 
ize it," DeVine says. "Everybody has an idea in their head, but it's a 
huge leap to making it a finished film. Especially films that are more 
conceptual in nature." 

Sometimes that leap can be both strategic and conceptual. When 
Debra Granik's first short film at NYU film school, Snake Feed{\997)< 
won Best Short at Sundance, everyone told her that this needed to be 
her next feature. Her film, a gritty portrait of an upstate New York 
woman and her boyfriend struggling with drug addiction as played by 
a real-life couple struggling with drug addiction — often recreating 
scenes from their own lives — was based on a hefty period of observa- 
tion, questioning, videotaping, and improvisation. The subjects/actors 
were both in a precarious place, testing their sobriety with what Granik 



calls "guts and soul." 

So when friends and admirers pointed out to Granik that she likely 
has thousands of scenes that couldn't make it into the short, why not 
just expand it? "The 'just' is the bitch, " Granik says. "There's no way 
to 'just. " 

So Granik threw herself back into the lives of what she calls her "life 
models," understanding that she would need to know them more inti- 
mately, expand their stories, and prepare professional actors to play 
them. Their lives were changing rapidly as she wrote the script, divert- 
ing her interest to what was happening at the moment from the scenes 
she was carefully constructing. The script grew to the size of a phone 
book before Granik put on the breaks and refined what she had. 

"There was never a day when I thought I was expanding my short," 
Granik says. "I had to feel I was embarking on a new adventure." 

The destination was Sundance again, where her (now) feature film, 
Down to the Bone, won both the 2004 Special Jury Prize and Dramatic 
Directing Award. For Granik, the experience of making the short was 
such an integral part of he process that she considers making one to 
prime herself for her next feature. "A short puts you in the hot seat," 
she says. "You've decided you will make some filmic piece, and after 



50 The Independent I Januan/ZFebruary 2005 




r 

Debra Granik's Down To the Bone 



some energy, you will have strived to make something watchable and 
understandable. And even if the short reveals some big gnarly problem 
with the film, I'll be able to fix it." 

Director Phil Roc shot his 10-minute short Avenue X, over two days 
tor about $4,000 aft:er post-production, just to prove that he could. 
He is now working with his writing partner, Aaron Schnore, to give the 
festival crowd what they've been clamoring for. "People want more, so 
were going to give them more, " Roc says. "Might as well capitalize on 
the momentum rather than just walk away. " 

His film, lollowing two teen boys who scam money from a bodega 
owner to finance a day at Coney Island, strikes a nerve with audiences, 
because the two lead characters are deaf — something uncommon in the 
film marketplace. Roc is confident he will find financing h)r the leature 
and recognizes the role of his short in accomplishing that. "The short 
shows people in the industry that I can do this and hopefully take those 
ten minutes and turn it into 1 10 minutes, ' he savs. 



Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden were thinking along the same lines 
when they wrote a feature script and then made their short, Gowaiuis, 
Brooklyn, partly as a means of getting the feature financed and partly 
tor practice. "We got to workshop characters, workshop story," Boden 
sa\'s. "We wound up revisiting the feature and making changes. With 
other shorts, we didn't know what we were doing and were just mess- 
ing around with video.' 

Gowanus, Brooklyn tells the story of a somewhat rebellious, some- 
what distant 12-year-old girl who discovers that her no-nonsense, exis- 
tentiall\' philosophizing teacher is hiding a crack habit. To create the 
short trom the feature script, Boden and Fleck took the inciting inci- 
dent and built an entirely new script around it. While the short unfolds 
from the child's point ot view, the teature will tocus on the teacher. 
While the short ends on an unspoken understanding between two 
characters, it's the t)'pe of everyday moment that could hardly sustain 
a feature ending. 

The process ot working from a teature to a short and back. Fleck 
explains, has had some unintended consequences. "We know all the 
secret.s, but there is more mystery in the short," Fleck says about the 
untold stories and relationships between the characters. "Now that 
people have read the teature script, the\- have all the mystery solved. " 

VC'cll, you can't please everyone. 

The trick, as almost any filmmaker will tell you, is to please \ourself 
and hope tor the best. And whether that first step eventually takes you 
to a distant galaxy of film success — where you'll be tempted to one day 
taint your legacy with a series ot maddeningly insipid prequels — or 
maybe just takes you to a quick screening at a theater near you, it might 
be heartening to believe: one small step for a short film can be one 
giant step tor a short-filmmakcr. "k 




Alex on the escalator in Slo-Mo (John Krokidas) 



January/February 2005 I Thie Independent 51 



The Talented 
Tenth 



ndie actors-turned short filmmakers 




BY KATE BERNSTEIN 



While so many of HolK'woods high-paid actors spend their 
paycheclcs on the kind of luxury items the rest of the world 
only comes in contact with on trashy celebrity television 
shows, some are empt}'ing their bank accounts and charging up their 
credit cards like the rest of us — making movies. A rising group of thes- 
pians are stepping behind the camera and taking a shot at directing. 
And their format of choice is increasingly the short film. 

Just as with other budding filmmakers, the short film emerges into 
the actor's consciousness as the burning desire to tell a childhood ston.' 
or work out a current emotional crisis. And the bolt of necessary kick- 
in-the-butt inspiration from an encouraging peer contribute to 10 
minutes-worth of celluloid and hopefully a nervous, exhilarating, 
exhausting trip to Sundance. Of course, there are just a few differences 
that would be impossible to ignore. Making friends work for free could 
mean major star power in an established actors film — upping the 
chances of that illustrious Sundance possibilit}', but also having a much 
more critical eye cast on cross-over potential. 

And then there are the benefits and drawbacks unique to the cre- 
ative process of actors taking on the role of director. What emerges is a 
slightly charmed yet, ultimately, universalK* challenging experience of 
making that first glorious short film. Many famous faces from The 
Lord of the Rings's Sean Astin to Hank Azaria and Kevin Connolly, the 



actor most recently seen in HBO's "Entourage," have newly made 
short films. Four other actors shared their war stories with us from that 
concise but massive undertaking. 

Illeana Douglas, known for many sharp comedic roles in both tele- 
vision and film, made her first short The Perfect Woman, 10 years ago 
and has kept going ever since. "I was working on A/ive with Ethan 
Hawke," Douglas says of her directing origins. "We had a lot of free 
time on our hands and were talking about making movies. He had just 
made a short and really inspired me to do it." With Hawkes help, 
Douglas quickly cast, wrote, and directed a small budget film loosely 
based on her dating experiences as well as her quest to become the per- 
fect mate. The Perfect Woman played Sundance and was chosen for the 
closing night of The New York Film Festival that same year, opening 
for The Piano. The experience hooked Douglas on short films. 

"I had all these ideas that wouldn't sustain an entire film, yet I 
thought they were funny and tapped into things that everybody was 
thinking about," Douglas says. "I come from a stand-up and sketch 
comedy background, and my films are like little comedy sketches 
where 1 plan out four or five really good jokes." Douglas found short 
film to be her perfect outlet — she was able to play out her short 
comedic ideas, combining her writing, performance, and point of view, 
while learning to direct. "The short film is the easiest shorthand wav to 



52 The Independent I Januan//February 2005 




Jeff Goldblum and llleana Douglas in Douglas's short Supermarket {courXesY of llleana Douglas) 



take a stab at trying to express yourself in a dif- 
ferent way," she says. 

The Perfect Woman caught the attention ot 
The hidependent Film Channel, and they 
tunded Douglas's next short. Boy Crazy, Girl 
Crazier (1996). That film, a lightly sardonic, 
neurotic, and hilarious peek into the relation- 
ship of two actors, was based on Douglas's own 
experiences trying to work in HolK'wood. 
Supported by IFC, Douglas was able to shoot 
for five days and on 35mm, as opposed to the 
16mm rwo-day shoot of her previous (and 
future) film. "It was a luxury, " Douglas says. 
Her next short Devil Talk (2003) — an amusing 
six-minute phone conversation between the 
Devil and his mother — played at Sundance 
and had a theatrical run opening for Errol 
Morris's The Fog of War. As a result, Sundance 
approached Douglas about creating a retro- 
spective of her work for them. The outcome 
was another short film. Supermarket, which 
debuted at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. 
Supermarket, originally intended to work as a 

framework for Douglass other shorts, turned out to work on its own, the Seattle International Film Festival in 2001 to make a short film in 
following the out-of-work actress as she attempts to manage the ins and .seven days. Spare Me, about how mean teenage girls are to each other, 
outs of a "regular" job while unable to fight the urge to perform in the premiered the following year at Sundance. Turner returned to 
aisles. Sundance again in 2003 with another highly acclaimed short film 

All of Douglas's shorts have had as successful a run on the festival Hummer, this time made with funds from her own pocket, inspired by 
circuit as possible. "What helps is that 1 did Deril Talk last year and one someone lurner dated who hummed maddeningly and incessantly. "It 
year later I had another short," she says. "Consistency is really good. A was a piece to make fun of myself — how I obsess over stupid details 
lot of these festivals like to see you do something else. They really want about people all the time and drive myself crazy," Turner says, 
to support the consistent filmmaker." Douglas also believes that the Like Douglas, Furner likes being both on and off camera. She co- 

genre of short films she makes is very conducive to the festival envi- starred in Hummer, "mostly because people always warn against it so 
ronment. "They're always looking for comedy shorts. I always tell peo- heavily, and I hate being told that I can't do something." To aid in the 
pie [to] make comedy shorts, don't make dramatic ones. They're very process. Turner had a trusted director friend on set who helped when 
popular, especially if you keep them short. " she was in front of the camera. Doing both gave Turner a valuable per- 

It also helps that heavy players like Jeff Goldblum and Daryl spective on each. "With that perspective comes a respect for how chal- 
Hannah, both also short-filmmakers, appear in Supermarket. However, lenging and unique each role on set is," Turner says. Now working on 
the star of the film, and of the pilot Douglas is currently shooting for her third short, she feels more secure as a director, and hopes to direct 
Oxygen based on Supermarket, is Douglas herself She has put herself a few more shorts in the future. "I still have so much to learn and it's a 
in almost all of her shorts. "Who wouldn't? " she says with a laugh. "I'm safer way to make mistakes," she says. "It's like school for me." 
a perfectionist and because its comedic and I know exactly what I While creatively exciting, the transition from actress to director 

want, I know I will deliver exactly what I need." Plus, as Douglas hasn't been a necessarily easy one for her in the industry. "There's a 
explains, when you are on your own tight budget, it is a great way to sense of needing to prove that you're not just some insecure, egomani- 
avoid actors' fees. acal yet untalented schmo who has a couple of bucks to throw around 

Another actress-turned-director who began her short-filmmaking on a vanity project," Turner says. And of course there's also the issue 
career at the suggestion of peers, is Guinevere Turner, who made her of what being an attractive actress symbolizes for many people. For 
on-screen debut in 1994's indie lesbian classic Go Fish, and appeared example, when recently driving to the studio lot where she's editing her 
last year in Showtime's critically acclaimed original series, "The L current short, the guard at the gate immediately assumed she was there 
Word." She had never thought of directing before being approached by for an audition and was confused when she explained she was there to 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 53 



go to the post-production house. "That makes me want to pull out my to tell this specific stot)', based on something that happened to him and 

resume and just hand it to them," she says. his btothet when they were kids in suburban Long Island. "I told the 

Perhaps tor that reason, some actors-turned-filmmakers choose not stor\' to even,' filmmaker I've ever worked with, and ever)' one of them 

to put themselves in their directorial debut. Ralph Macchio, whose said it was a great movie and 1 should do it," he said. "Making it was a 

2002 debut short film Love Thy Brother premieied at Sundance, open- nice fiill circle." 

ing for Project Greenlight's 5w^« 5ttww<T and later acquired by HBO, Macchio credits acting with preparing him for directing, having 

could have easily cast himself in his film but decided to leave himself learned something from each filmmaking legend he has worked with as 

out so as not to deflect attention from his directing aspirations. "I just well as his time spent on sets. "Ever since I started acting in films, I was 



thought I have to maintain full focus," 
Macchio says. "I'm going to have enough to 
deal with the first time out. Oi course il it 
would have completel}' financed the movie, I 
might have looked at it a different way." 

Macchio even went one step further to pull 
himsell out of the films content. At the last 
moment he decided to delete his name from 
the film's opening credits, instead only reveal- 
ing the writer and the director after the film 
had finished. "People draw conclusions about 
what they think you are," he says. "If my name 
was at the beginning, people would [think], 
'Now you think you're a director. Show me 
what you're going to do. I wanted the film to 
speak for itself" The decision proved fruitful 
as the audience and critical response focused 
primarily on the films merit, with the direc- 
tor's identin' more ot an afterthought. 

Being Ralph Macchio, or any famous actor. 




Eva Capsouto in Mili Avital's / Think Myself I 
Am All The Time Younger (Bruce Weber) 



hanging around the camera truck and the 
camera guys asking a zillion questions," he 
says. They want to share and pass down their 
knowledge." For Love Thy Brother, Macchio 
stuck with the cinematic st}'le of "the pol- 
ished studio look" (35mm and fluid expen- 
sive camera movements) he had grown up 
with and that also fit his specific suburban 
comedy genre. 

Macchio sees the experience of screening a 
film he wrote and directed at Sundance as 
another chapter in his life. "After 18 years of 
being recognized for The Karate Kid, to have 
someone grab my arm and say something 
about how ftjnny my short is, was very 
rewarding, he says. 

Like Macchio, actress Mili Avital, who 
started working in the US film industr\' 
opposite Johnny Depp in Jim Jarmusch's 
Dead Man (1995) and has had a steadv flow 



is in Macchio's words, "a double-edged sword." But the actor believes of television and film roles ever since, had a burning desire to tell a spe- 
that "when you lay down the pros and cons, there's more on the good cific storj' that drove her to make her first short film. / Think Myself I 
side." Macchio's acting reputation and connections lured GreeneStreet Am All The Time Younger, which debuted at the 2004 Tribeca Film 
Films on board to help produce, and a top-notch cast and crew. "When Festival, follows Eva Capsouto, a Turkish-Eg)'ptian-Jewish immigrant 
they mentioned who was directing the film, it was like I never met him living in New York Citv- helping her sons run their Tribeca restaurant 
but I grew up watching his stuff, so sure, I'll do it." for 41 years. Avital knew she wanted to capture Eva on camera ever 
Love Thy Brother does, however, completely stand on its own cine- since the actress lived with Capsouto for a few months after emigrating 
matic merits. The film is a poignant and hilarious comedy about two from her native Israel. Almost a decade later, Avital decided to finally 
pre-teen brothers whose sibling rivalry is temporarily interrupted by a make the film. "I was turning 30," Avital says, "and you start thinking, 
robber}', only to be further intensified by the event. The decision to VC'hat's my life about? VC'hat am I doing? And I saw this old lady deal- 
shoot a short in the first place came out of Macchio's long-time desire ing with aging in such a fascinating way that doesnt exist anymore in 



54 The Independent I January/February 2005 





Filmmaker Mill Avital (Theo & Juliet) 



A scene from Guinevere Turner's film Hummer 



in such a fascinating way that doesn't exist anymore in this age of self- 
consciousness. She just hved with her aging so peacefully. " 

Avital made / Think Myself I Am All The Time Younger over a period 
of three years. She filmed it herself with a mini-DV camera and only 
the light that was available to her She invested her "pocket-budget" in 
editing equipment and edited the film herself in her house over a five- 
month period. While Avitals small production was determined by her 
small budget, it allowed her an intimacy with the subject that proved 
vital to the heart-warming and heart-wrenching film. 

Unlike so many actors that tackle directing a short film in the fic- 
tional form they are most familiar with, Avital entered the unfamiliar 
realm of documentary, though being an actress still helped her 
immensely in making the film. "It's a movie made by an actor because 
it is a portrait of a character," she says. "I wanted to capture the minu- 
tia of this woman's life, the little things. " In finding what to film, Avital 
looked for the same kinds of elements in Eva that she would create for 
any character she might play in another film. In capturing the old 
woman's cane, her funny walk, her false teeth, Avital brought details of 
both strength and loneliness to the forefront of the film. Making the 
documentary also taught Avital a valuable lesson to use in her acting — 



the strength of silence. "As an actor you're so focused on the text you 
have to deliver," she says. "With F.va, it was an older woman remem- 
bering her past in silent moments that was the most interesting to 
watch." 

Most of all, making her first short was creatively and personally lib- 
erating h)r Avital. "As an actor, there is so little control over the final 
product," she says. "Its not just hurtful, but also tedious and boring. 
Unless you move from one lead to the next like Nicole Kidman, you 
have to wait until someone allows you to be creative. You can't act for 
yourself. You have to sit around until someone calls you." Avital, like 
many actors-turned-filmmakers, was too hungry and creative to wait. 
She was also driven by a great desire to look outwards, not just inwards. 
"Directing is a very rich experience compared to acting because there 
are a lot more elements to play with — music, or a close-up, or timing, 
or a still shot — it's not just my emotions. With filmmaking you can 
express yourself in a deeper and more personal way." 

Hers was a sentiment expressed by all the actors who embraced 
directing the short film format. Of course, there is also Ralph 
Macchio's favorite theory, which he attributes to his friend, Danny 
DeVito: "Actors become directors because the job of God is taken. "^ 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 55 



IUX)K REVIEW 



THE VIDEO CLERKS 



Anti-chain store owners publish their preferences 



By Lisa Selin Davis 

The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide, 
Sasquatch Books, 808 pages, $24.95 



M 



any a film fanatic lias made tlie pil- 
grimage to the Mecca of Seattle's 
Scarecrow Video, which carries 
over 72,000 titles — many of them off the 
Hollywood radar screen. Famous trekkers 
include Quentin Tarantino, John Woo, and 
Bernardo Bertolucci (who called it "the best 
video store in the world"), among other inde- 
pendent film legends. It was the favored video 
haunt of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, 
and 90,000 loyal customers have fed their 
movie hunger there. Now, Scarecrow aims to 
return a little of that love and share it with a 
larger audience as they introduce the 
Scarecrow Video Movie Guide. The "staff and 
friends" of Scarecrow compiled this over 800- 
page behemoth to express their very strong 
opinions, indoctrinate newcomers, and 
educate movie lovers all around the nation. 

The guide is not merely a collection of 
reviews. It's also a treatise on the importance 
of the independent video store and the inde- 
pendent film viewer and a polemic against the 
rise of the chain stores. "As a movie lover, do 




you want any government, any corporation, 
any limits put on your maddening pursuit of 
that which you have never seen?" internet film 
critic Harry Knowles asks in the introduction. 
The authors point out that chains like 
Blockbuster and Hollywood video restrict 
their offerings to R-rated movies and below, 
refusing to rent even NC-17 art films like 
Henry dr June (1990). The independent video 
store, they argue, is a version of free speech in 
a country that's increasingly prone to corpo- 
rate consolidation — a pro-choice stance for 
cinema. 

In the User's Guide section. Scarecrow 
inventory manager Kevin Shannon explains 
their motto/business philosophy: bringing 
people and movies together. "We just love 
movies, and love bringing movies to people. 
And that's all of it, really. It sure doesn't make 
a business plan, that's for sure, and we have 



just a whole lot of zero mone}' in our pockets 
to prove it. 

OK, so the book is not a hallmark of cor- 
rect grammar and usage, but their film litera- 
cy is what counts. At Scarecrow video, they 
take a sort of libertarian/communitarian 
approach to the business — they promise to 
unite patrons with every and any movie they 
wish to view. "We aspire to movie nerdom so 
you don't have to, " they write. "We watch 
movies of every ilk, from the thickest and 
thinnest margins in the realm of cinema, from 
the tiniest tributaries to the mainstream of 
film, popular and unknown movies from 
every nook and cranny of the world." 

But Scarecrow's guidebook is not about 
volume. Thev review around 4,000 titles here, 
carefully selected by the new owners, former 
owners, local film sjeeks, and loving Scarecrow 



56 Tfie Independent I January/February 2005 



association oi indepenaent 
video and filmmakers 



THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT 
VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 



To SUCCEED AS AN INDEPENDENT 
you need a wealth of resources, 
strong connections, and the best 
information availoble. Whether 
through our service and education 
programs, the pages of our magazine, 
our web resource, or through the 
organization raising its collective 
voice to advocate for important issues, 
AIVF preserves your independence 
while reminding you you're not alone. 

About AIVF 

The oldest and largest national 
moving-image media organization. 
The Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) provides 
support for individuals and advocacy 
for the media arts field. A 501(c)(3) 
nonprofit, AIVF offers a broad slate 
of education, information, and 
resource programs for members and 
non-members alike. 

Information Resources 

AIVF workshops and events cover the 
whole spectrum of issues affecting 
the field. Practical guides on festivals, 
distribution, exhibition and outreach 
help you get your film to audiences 
(see other part of this card). 

The Independent 

Membership provides you with a 
year's subscription to The Independent, 
a national magazine filled with 
thought-provoking features, profiles, 
news, and regular columns on legal, 
technical, and business matters — all 
geared to the working independent. 
Plus the field's best source of festival 
deadlines, exhibition venues, and 
funding opportunifies, as well as AIVF 
member activities and services. 



AIVF Online 

Stay connected through vs^ww.aivf.org, 
featuring resource listings and links, 
media advocacy information, web- 
original material, discussion areas, 
and the lowdown on AIVF services. 
Members-only features include 
interactive notices and festival 
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Insurance & Discounts 

Businesses across the country offer 
discounts on equipment and auto 
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AIVF supports dozens of member- 
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Advocacy 

AIVF has been consistently outspoken 
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Members receive information on 
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Mail to AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6th fl. New York, NY 10013; or ctiarge by phone (212) 807-1400 x503. by fax 
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AWARDS 




"Movies We Like From Directors We Usually 
Hate" includes Annie Ha// (United Artists) 



loiterers. Ihese are films they want you to see, 
as well as the Films they think you should 
absolutely pass up. 1 hey write: " The only 
chance the independent video store owner has 
ever had to survive corporate invasions takes 
us back to where we started, the tastes and 
aspirations ot the owners." The Scarecrow 
contingent has ver)' specific tastes and high 
aspirations because, yes, they just love movies, 
all kinds of movies. 

The book guides you through films in 
every genre, theme, and category that tugged 
on the heartstrings of Scarecrows loyal gang, 
whether they're crowd pleasers or not. 
lumping on the listmania bandwagon that 
Flared up around the turn of the century 
(remember the top 100 American movies, 
books, short stories, etc.?), they've compiled a 
series of movie lists that would make Rob 



Fleming — the listmaking hero of Nick 
Hornby's book High Fidelity — proud. 

Included in the guide are: Directors ^X'ho 
Should Have Larger Followings (Kenneth 
Anger, Todd Haynes, and Derek Jarman, for 
instance); Favorite Giant Monsters (Godzilla, 
Gamera and Giant Martians from The Angiy 
Red Planet, 1960); Best Movies Starring 
Animals (Alligator, 1980, or The Cat from 
Outer Space, 1978); Best Animated Movies for 
Grown-ups (The Time Masters, 1982, Cat 
Soup, 2003, and / Married a Strange Person, 
1997); Essential Hip-Hop Movies ( Wild Style, 
1982, Scratch, 2001); Movies About Food 
(Delicatessen, 1991 , Love on a Diet, 2001, and 
Motel Hell, 980); Scariest Movies Ever (Alien, 
1979, The Exorcist, 1973, and the less well- 
known Suspiria, 1977); and Movies We Wish 
Were on DVD ( The Exterminating AngeL 




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1962, and Robert Bressons Pickpocket, 1959). 
And don't forget the Movies We Like That 
Most People Hate list {A.I. Artificial 
Intelligence, 2001, A Night at the Roxbury, 
1998. and The Island of Dr. Moreau, 1996). 

Not ail the lists are positive — in a not-so- 
tair and balanced look at the movie industr\-, 
the antipathy runs just as deep as the love. 
The guide ofifers warnings, as in Our Least 
Favorite Remakes, like Godzilla (1998), The 
Haunting ( 1 999) , and The Shining ( 1 997) . Or 
Worst Movies by Favorite Directors (Ridley 
Scott's G.I fane, 1997 and Paul Verhoeven's 
Hollow Man, 2000), followed by Directors 
We Truly Hate (Joel Schumacher tops the list, 
along with Woody Allen, Jane Campion, and 
Lars Von Trier). But they aim to be diplomat- 
ic, so they include another list: Movies We 
Like From Directors We Usually Hate, 
including Annie Hall (1977), Gregg Araki's 
Splendor (1999) and Peter Greenaway's The 
Pillow Book (\39G). 




The Scarecrow guide also educates readers 
in the fine art of watching movies on video 
and D\'D, with a section explaining how the 
aspect ratios of academy, cinemascope and 
Panavision differ, as well as "intermission " sec- 
tions that describe various genres like blax- 
ploitation and anime, along with genres you 
didn't even know were genres, such as French 
crime films or sexploitation. These intermis- 
sions profile 46 different directors, from inter- 
national independents like R.W. Fassbinder to 
as-yet undiscovered talents like Alejandro 
Jodorowsky and Victor Erice. 

The tone of the book is both casual and 
impassioned, a movie bible that preaches to 
the converted. The Scarecrow contingent 
seems to share a particular aesthetic, privileg- 
ing movies 1 like to call "macho-sensitive." 
They love Tarantino, Jarmusch, and the Coen 
brothers — the same directors who love 
Scarecrow. 

This mutual love test means that movie 



58 The Independent I January/February 2005 




Godzilla is one of the authors' "Favorite Giant Monsters, " although the 1998 version is one 
of their "Least Favorite Remakes" 



fanatics whose tastes are aligned with the 
Scarecrow gang will most benefit from this 
book. When you buy a book from 
Amazon.com, for instance, their website 
shows you books that appeal to a similar sen- 
sibilit)', or at least books other folks bought 
with the one youVe just ordered. The 
Scarecrow Movie Guide works the same way. It 
you liked The Usual Suspects (\995) and This 
Is Spinal Tap (1984), then you'll probably like 
most of the movies they've lauded in the 
book. If you tend to turn your thumbs up at 
the same movies as Roger Ebert, maybe you'll 
want his book, or maybe some other less 
opinionated, more politically correct sort of 
publication. 

But a traditional video guidebook won't 
provide the zeal of this compilation, nor will 
it include the sweet history of this beloved 
store, begun in 1988 with 619 films from 
original owners Rebecca and George Latsios's 
personal collection, which has blossomed to 



more than 100 times the size. It won't be com- 
piled by a communit)' of film lovers who 
clearly wish to spread their love around. And 
though you can certainly find guides that 
review larger numbers of films — the DVD & 
Video Guide 2004 by Mick Martin covers 
18,000 movies, and Leonard Maltin's 2004 
guide reviews 19,000 — those guides do not 
include the rare, underground, off-the-charts 
and undiscovered movies found in this collec- 
tion. This book is a sampling of what you'd 
get if you visited Scarecrow Video: a highly 
biased and impassioned tour through their 
collective cinematic vision. 

The foreign film section, for instance, 
includes pictures from countries whose 
national cinema we rarely get to glimpse. 
(When was the last time you saw an 
Ecuadorian picture or a film from Burkina 
Faso?) Icelandic and Iranian films are includ- 
ed, not to mention a couple from Macedonia. 
Other categories include Action, Adventure 



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Westerns, Directors, All Things Music, 
Pyschotronic, and Silenr Films — not quite 
how Mr. Maltin would break it down. Perhaps 
you have a craving for a little klezmer music in 
your evening entertainment? The Scarecrow 
guide offer Joseph Green's 1936 Yiddle With 
His Fiddle. Or you can choose from the Most 
Depressing Movies list, and settle in for a sad 
evening of The Great Silence (1968), which 
they describe as "Beautiful and bleak, the 
trademark cynicism of director Corbucci 
{Django) is complicated by the nature, of its 
ruthless nemeses." The writing is smart and 
witty, but not pretentious. Read one blurb and 
you'll likely know whether or not this is the 
movie for you. 

The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide is an invi- 
tation to join their club. It is a celebration of 
the world's finest — and so-bad-they're-good — 
films. Somehow, they're able to be highly opin- 
ionated without being snobbish: anyone can 
join them in their fight to free the world from 
the constraints of direct-from-studio-to-chain- 
store domination. Only one problem. If you're 
not lucky enough to live in Seattle, or some 
other fine city with as stellar an independent 
video store as Scarecrow, how will you see these 
hard-to-find films? Access remains a curious 
paradox, since we don't yet have Scarecrow 
Video stores across the land, "k 




From the "Movies We Like That Most People 
Hate" list: >1 Night at the Roxbury 



60 The Independent I January/February 2005 



FESTIVALS 



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DOMESTIC 

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN CINEMA 
FILM FESTIVAL, March 24-26, NY. Deadline: 
Feb. 1 . Fest seeks Films & Scripts by women 
who are of the African, Latino or Asian 
Diaspora. Cats: feature, doc, short, script, 
animation, preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 
(films/scripts). Contact: Terra Renee: (212) 
769-7949; fax: 871-2074; info@aawic.org; 
www.aawic.org. 

ANTELOPE VALLEY INDEPENDENT FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 13-15, CA. Deadline: Feb. 1; 
March 15 (final). Fest seeks short & feature 
films of all genres & formats for its annual 
fest. Cats: short, doc, feature, music video. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, Mini-DV. 
Entry Fee: $25; $40 (Final). Contact: Michael 
Traina; (661) 722-6478; fax: 772-6612, 
info@aviff.com; www.aviff.com. 

ARIZONA STATE ART MUSEUM SHORT FILM & 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, April 23, AZ. Deadline: Feb. 
14. The fest is a one night outdoor fest. 
Entries should be no longer than 10 mm. All 
entries become a part of the Museum's 
video libran/. Founded: 1997. Cats: short, 
experimental. Awards: Juror's Choice (2), 
LeBlanc Audience Choice & AZ award 
(Arizona artists only). Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: None. Contact: John D. Spiak, Curatorial 
Museum Specialist; (480) 965-2787; fax: 
(480) 965-5254; spiak@asu.edu; asuartmuse 
um.asu.edu/filmfest/. 

ARTWALLAH, FESTIVAL OF SOUTH ASIAN 
ARTS, SUMMER, CA. Deadline: Feb. 15. 
Annual fest seeks innovative films & videos 
by or about South Asians that express per- 
sonal, political, & cultural struggles of the 



South Asian diaspora. Cats: any style or 
genre. VHS- NTSC only. Entry Fee: none. 
Contact: Senain Kheshgi; film@artwallah.org; 
www.artwallah.org. 

BAC INT'L FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, Apnl 28 
May 21, NY. Deadline: Jan. 28. The fest 
serves the community by by providing quali- 
ty film & video programs from all around the 
world free of charge. Criteria for selection: 
the work's artistic quality, the artist's cohe- 
sive artistic viewpoint, demonstrated knowl- 
edge of the medium, appropriateness for 
diverse audiences, & the originality of the 
work. Features must not exceed 150 mm. 
Founded: 1966. Cats: Feature, Short, 
Experimental, Doc, Animation, Student 
(Adult/College), Youth (K-12), student, youth 
media. Awards: Certificates given to Best in 
each category. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
3/4", Beta SR DVD, Mini-DV. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $40 Independents; $25 
Students; $10 Youth. Contact: The Brooklyn 
Arts Council; (718) 625-0080; fax: 625-3294; 
filmfest@brooklynartscouncil.org; 
www.brooklynartscouncil.org. 

BICYCLE FILM FESTIVAL, May 12 15, NY 

Deadline: Feb. 17. Festival is a celebration of 
bicycles & those who ride them through film, 
arts & music from around the world. The 
Festival embraces all the various bike subcul- 
tures. Cats: any style or genre, feature, doc, 
short, animation, experimental. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SR 1/2". Preview on VHS 
or DVD. Contact: Festival; (212) 726 8505; 
info@bicyclefilmfestival.com; www. bicycle 
filmfestival.com. 

CAROLINA FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, Feb 23 

26, NC. Deadline: Dec. 15; Jan. 15. Fest held 
at Univ. of NC at Greensboro, fest's continu- 
ing goal IS to exhibit works of independent 
artistry & personal vision. Fest accepts work 
in all genres & cats, incl. animation, doc, 
exp., narrative & students short. Projects of 
all lengths & originating on all formats 
accepted. Founded: 1989. Cats: any style or 
genre, feature, doc, short, animation, experi- 



mental, script, student. Formats: 16mm, 
Beta SR VHS, 1/2", S-VHS, DV, DVD, 
Preview on VHS or DVD. Entn/ Fee: $1 0-$45. 
Contact: Festival; (336) 334-4197; fax: 
334-5039; carolinafilmfest@excite.com; 
www.carolinafilmandvideofestival.org. 

CHICAGO DOC FILM FESTIVAL, April 111, IL 
Deadline: Jan. 12. Fest describes it's pro- 
gramming as"designed to extend apprecia- 
tion of the art of documentan/ film & its 
unique power to inspire & communicate a 
world of ideas & cultures." Founded: 2003. 
Cats: doc. Awards: Cash Awards in various 
cats. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, DigiBeta, 
Beta SR DV-Cam, DVD, DV. Preview on VHS 
or DVD. EntP/ Fee: $50. Contact: Festival; 
(773) 486-9612; fax: 486-9613; info@chicago 
docfestival.org; www.chicagodocfestival.org. 

DANCES WITH FILMS April 8 14, CA 
Deadline: Jan. 3; Jan. 31 (final). Dances With 
Films promises "No politics. No stars. No 
shit." Festival is a competitive event featur- 
ing a Ime-up of a dozen feature-length narra- 
tive films & more than a dozen narrative 
shorts. All films admitted for screening are 
selected using only one major criterion: they 
must have been completed w/out any 
known director, actors, producers, or monies 
from known sources (e.g., known production 
companies). Films must have been complet- 
ed by Jan. 1 of previous year. Founded: 
1998. Cats: family, youth media, feature, 
doc, short, animation, experimental. Awards: 
Best of (feature, short); Best Screenplay (fea- 
ture, short); Audience Award (feature, short). 
Formats: Beta SR 16mm, 35mm, DV HD. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: Entry fee: $60 
(feature); $40 (short); all late entries are $75. 
Contact: Leslee Scallon; (323) 850-2929; 
fax: 850-2928; info@dancesw/films.com; 
www.DancesWithFilms.com. 

DIRECTOR'S VIEW INT'L STUDENT FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 6-10, NY Deadline: Jan 15. 
Part of the Director's View Film Festival, this 
program is designed to introduce the work of 
young people (under 19 years of age) to the 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 61 



FESTIVALS 



general public. Cats: Shorts (30 Minutes 
Max) , Doc , Narrative, . Awards: Prizes 
awarded by panel of judges. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, VHS, DigiBeta, Beta SR Beta, 
DVD. Preview on VHS or DVD. Contact: 
DVFF; (914) 533-0270; fax: (914) 533-0269; 
info@thedirectorsview.com; www.dvff.org. 

FAIRFAX DOC FILM FESTIVAL, April, CA 

Deadline: Feb. 15. Doc shorts & features are 
accepted. Festival seeks works by filmmak- 
ers working in Northern California. No entry 
form required. Founded: 1999. Cats: doc. 
Awards: Award for Best of Fest selected by 
audience. Formats: Beta SP. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: David 
Weinsoff, Festival Director; 415-460-9760; 
fax: 460-9762; Weinsoff@ix.netcom.com; 
v\AA^w.fairf axdocfest.org. 

FARGO FILM FESTIVAL, 2-5, ND. Deadline: 7 
A special selection titled Native American 
Voices Showcase. Festival is for a wide vari- 
ety of films, showcased in the historic Fargo 
Theatre. Founded: 1999. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, animation, experimental, student. 
Awards: Yes, unspecified. Formats: 16mm. 
Contact: Festival; (701) 239 8385; info@far 
gotheatre.org. 

FIRSTGLANCE: PHILADELPHIA FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 11-15, PA. Deadline: Jan, 1; 
Jan. 15 (final). Fest encourages student & 
professional film & videomakers at all levels 
for underground alternative event whose 
mission is to exhibit all genres of work, from 
mainstream to controversial, in a competi- 
tive, casual atmosphere. Festival's mission is 
to bring together film- & videomakers from 
around the world, to promote & exhibit Philly 
talent, & to expose Philadelphia to film- & 
videomaking from around the corner & 
around the world. Winners will also screen in 
LA. Founded: 1996. Cats: animation, experi- 



mental, student, feature, doc, short, any 
style or genre. Awards: Over $50,000 in 
pnzes. Formats: 16mm, Beta, DV, 35mm, 
3/4", 1/2", S-VHS, Beta SR super 8, Hi8, U- 
matic, 8mm, DigiBeta. Preview on VHS 
(NTSC) & DVD. Entn/ Fee: S25-$50. Contact: 
Firstglance Films; (818) 464-3544; (215) 552- 
8566; wroprol@email.msn.com; www.first 
glancefilms.com. 

HI/LO FILM FESTIVAL, Apnl, CA Deadline 
Jan. 1; Jan. 15 (final). Non-competitive fest 
"celebrates films w/ high concepts & low 
budgets for the adventurous & disenchant- 
ed." Festival seeks films that cannot be 
found at the multiplex: films that are more 
smart than slick, that priviledge ideas over 
commerce; that prove freat filmmaking has 
more to do w/ brains than wallets. Any 
genre, any subject, any length — bring it on! 
Cats: any style or genre, feature, doc, short, 
animation, experimental. Formats: super 8, 
35mm, 16mm, digital, Hi8, 3/4", VHS, DV 
Preview on VHS, Entry Fee: $15; $20 (late). 
Contact: Festival; (415) 558-7721; 
info@hilofilmfestival.com; www.hilofilmfest 
ival.com. 

HIGH-DEF FILM FESTIVAL, World Tour Event 
Deadline: Jan, 10. HDFEST is known as "the 
world's only high-definition film fest" due to 
the fact the fest showcases projects in HD 
which have been shot in HD format exclu- 
sively. HDFEST works to bring together film- 
makers & technological innovators from all 
over the world. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
animation, experimental, TV, music video. 
Awards: World tour screening. Formats: 
DVD, VHS. Preview on DVD or VHS. 
Entn/ Fee: $40 (under 40 mm); $50 (others). 
Contact: Hdfest Productions; admin 
@hdfest,com; www.hdfest,com. 

HUMBOLDT INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 



April 2-7, CA. Deadline: Jan. 31; Feb. 11. 
Since its inception in 1967, the Fest contin- 
ues to support & celebrate filmmakers work- 
ing in experimental & non-traditional ways. 
Whether you are a first time filmmaker in the 
process of developing your unique visual 
style, or an established independent continu- 
ing to push the limits of the mediums, the 
Festival invites you to submit your 16mm 
film or digital vido. Nestled between the red- 
wood forests & the pacific ocean, the Fest 
has the distinction of being the oldest conti- 
nous student run film fest in the world. Films 
must be under 45 mm. m length & completed 
in the last three years. Selected entries must 
be avail, for projection in film print format or 
on DVD, if DV. The fest takes place in Areata, 
Calafornia, home to Humboldt State 
Universtiy. Founded: 1967. Cats: narrative, 
experimental, animation, doc, & the "you call 
It" category, short, any style or genre. 
Formats: 16mm, Digital Video. Preview on 
VHS/DVD. Entn/ Fee: $10 (under 9 mm.); $20 
(10-29 mm.); $30 (30-60 min); $10 additional 
for Int'l entries . Contact: Pablo Koontz; (707) 
826-4113; fax: 826-4112; filmfest@hum 
boldt.edu; www.humboldt.edu/~filmfest. 

HYPEFEST, July 29-31, CA. Deadline: Feb. 
11; April 1. Fest accepting short films (25 
mm. or less), commercials, music videos & 
promos for competition screening. Only 
works completed in the current or previous 
yr. eligible. Cats: short, music video, 
commercials. Preview on VHS (NTSC) or 
DVD. Entry Fee: $20 (student w/ ID), $35; 
final: $45, $30 (student). Contact: Festival; 
(323) 938-8363; fax: 938-8757; info@hype 
fest.com; wvwv.hypefest.com. 

INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL OF BOSTON, 

April 21-24, MA, Deadline: Feb, 28, Fest was 
created to discover unknown filmmakers, 
mcl, students, first-timers, & int'l directors. 



62 The Independent I January/February 2005 



Festival specializes in films still seeking dis- 
tribution. Cats: any style or genre, feature, 
doc, short, animation, experimental. Awards: 
Best Fiction Feature & Short, Best Doc 
Feature & Short, Festival Filmmaker, & 
Audience Choice. Formats: 35mm, Beta. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $10-$45. 
Contact: Festival; (857)891-8693, info@iff 
boston.org; www.iffboston.org. 

INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL (LOS ANGELES), April 
20-24, CA. Deadline: Jan. 5, Fest showcases 
films from & about India by Indian & infl film- 
makers. Cats: feature, doc, short, any style 
or genre. Awards: Audience Award in all 
cats. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta, Beta SP, 
DigiBeta. Preview on VHS (NTSC or PAL). 
Entry Fee: $30 (up to 60 mm); $40 (Over 60 
min.). Contact: Christina Marouda; (310)364- 
4403; fax: 278-3499; info@indianfilmfesti 
val.org; www.indianfilmfestival.org. 

INTL WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL, April 30-May 8, 
MT. Deadline: Jan. 31. The central focus of 
fest IS to bring awareness to non-domesticat- 
ed wildlife species & natural habitats. Cats: 
children, doc, feature, TV, music video, news 
story. Formats: Beta SP DigiBeta. Preview on 
VHS or DVD. Entr/ Fee: $25-$200. Contact: 
IWFF; (406)728-9380; fax: 728-2881; 
iwff@wildlifefilms.org; www.wildlifefilms.org. 

IOWA CITY INTL DOC FESTIVAL, April 15-18, 
lA. Deadline: Jan. 31; Feb. 15 (final). A com- 
petitive fest showcasing short documen- 
taries. Length of entries is limited to 30 mm.. 
Festival seeks short documentaries of 30 
mm or less. The definition of a "documen- 
tary" IS open to wide interpretation Founded: 
2002. Cats: doc, short. Awards: Cash prizes. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, video. Preview on 
VHS. Entn/ Fee: $25; $30 (final). Contact: T. 
Seeberger; (319)335-3258; info@ICDocs.org; 
www.icdocs.org. 



LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL, June 16-26, 
CA. Deadline: Jan. 14; Feb. 18 (final: shorts, 
music video); March 1 (final: features) 
Fest showcases the best of American & int'l 
independent cinema. The fest screens over 
80 features & 60 shorts. Fest is widely rec- 
ognized as a world-class event, uniting 
emerging filmmakers w/ critics, scholars, 
film masters, & the movie-loving public. 
Founded: 1995. Cats: Feature, Doc, Short, 
Animation, Music Video, Student. Awards: 
Narrative Competition receives a $50,000 
cash grant. Doc Competition winner receives 
a $25,000 cash grant, both funded by Target 
Stores. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, DigiBeta, 
HD. Preview on VHS or DVD. Entn/ Fee: 
$50/$65 (features); $35/$45 (shorts); 
$20/$30 (music videos). Contact: Varky 
James; (310) 432-1208; lafilmfest@ifp.org; 
www laf ilmf est com 

MEDIA THAT MAHERS FILM FESTIVAL, May 

1 5, NY. Deadline: Jan. 5; Jan. 1 5 (final). A cel- 
ebration of short films about social, political 
or environmental work, this yearlong fest 
incls. community screenings around the 
country, online streaming, television broad- 
casts & DVD distribution to thousands of 
educators & activists. Cats: any style or 
genre, short, doc, experimental, animation, 
music video, youth media. Awards: $1,000 
cash awards. Formats: DVD, DigiBeta, Beta 
SP Entry Fee: $20. Contact: Wendy Cohen; 
(646)230-6288; fax: 230-6328; wendy@medi 
arights.or www.MediaThatMattersFest.org. 

METHOD FEST INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 

April 1-8, CA. Deadline: Dec. 5, Jan. 25 (final). 
Named for the 'Stamslavski Method,' fest 
highlights the great performances of inde- 
pendent film. Seeking story driven films w/ 
outstanding acting performances. Founded: 
1999. Cats: Feature, Short, student. Awards: 
Sculpted statuettes m various cats. Awards 



to Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Feature, 
Short, Quality Low Budget, & Audience 
Favorite Feature. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 
Beta SP DV DigiBeta, DVD. Preview on 
VHS. Entr/ Fee: Student: $25; Shorts: $30, 
$40 (final); Features: $40 , $50 (final). 
Contact: c/o Franken Enterprises; (310) 535- 
9230; fax: 535-9128; Don@methodfest.com; 
www.methodfest.com. 

NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS, March 23-April 
7, NY. Deadline: January 8. Highly regarded 
noncompetitive series presented by Film 
Society of Lincoln Center & Museum of 
Modern Art. Fest presents average of 23 fea- 
tures & 15 shorts each yr at MOMA. About 
900 entries submitted. No cats; all genres & 
lengths considered. Shorts presented w/ fea- 
tures. Films generally shown twice; howev- 
er, docs may be shown only once. Films 
selected by 3 programmers at Film Society & 
3 curators from museum. Fest is well publi- 
cized; all programs reviewed in New York 
Times & Village Voice. Generally sells out 
(attendance averages 93% & estimated at 
25,000). Entries must have been completed 
w/in previous yr & be NY premieres w/ no 
prior public exhibition. Founded: 1972. Cats: 
TV, feature, doc, short, animation, experi- 
mental, student. Awards: None. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Digital Video. Preview on 
VHS or DVD. Entn/ Fee: None. Contact: 
Sara Bensman, Film Coordinator ; (212) 875- 
5638; fax: 875-5636; festival@filmlinc.com; 
www.filmlmc.com. 

NEW YORK ASIAN AMERICAN INTL FILM 

FESTIVAL, July 15-31, NY. Deadline: Feb. 4. 
The oldest fest in the U.S. showcasing 
works by film & video makers of Asian 
decent. Known as the "first home to Asian 
American cinema," the fest incls. screen- 
ings, panels, workshops, works-in-progress 
screening, screenplay reading, networking 



Januan//Februan/ 2005 I The Independent 63 



FESTIVALS 



receptions, after parties, & much more. 
Founded: 1978. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
animation, expenmental. scnpt, music video. 
Awards: Emerging Director Award (1st/2nd 
time feature directors); Screenplay & shorts 
Awards Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SR 
DVD Preview on VHS or DVD Entry Fee: 
$10-$30. Contact: Asian CineVision; (212) 
989-1422; fax: 727-3584; info@asiancinevi 
sion.org; www.asiancinevision.org. 

OUTFEST: THE LOS ANGELES GAY & LESBIAN 
FILM FESTIVAL. July 7-18. CA. Deadline: Jan. 
28; March 1 1 (final). The mission of Outfest 
is to "build bridges among audiences, film- 
makers & the entertainment industry 
through the exhibition of high-quality gay, 
lesbian, bisexual & transgender themed films 
& videos, highlighted by an annual fest, that 
enlighten, educate & entertain the diverse 
communities of Southern California". Fest 
also offers a weekly screening series yr. 
round, as well as a screenwriting lab. 
Founded: 1982. Cats: Feature, Doc. Short, 
Animation. Experimental, script. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. 3/4", 1/2", Beta SP. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: Features (over 50 min.) 
$25. $35 (final); Shorts: $15 , $25 (final) 
Screenwnting Lab $25 (1/28 only). Contact 
Festival; (213)480-7088; fax: 480-7099; pro 
gramming@outfest.org; vvww.outfest.org. 

PALM BEACH INT'L FILM FESTIVAL April 14 

21, PL. Deadline: Dec. 30, Feb. 4 (final). 
Festival showcases over 80 American & Int'l 
independent features, shorts & documen- 
taries. Set in Florida's tropical playground, 
fest gatherings range from stimulating semi- 
nars to casual beach parties & a black tie 
affair hosting some of top names in the film 
industry. Founded: 1996. Cats: any style or 
genre, feature, doc, short, experimental 
Formats: 35mm, Beta, Beta SR DigiBeta. 
Preview on VHS or DVD. Entn/ Fee: $30-$70. 
Contact: Festival; (561) 362-0003; fax: 362- 
0035; info@pbifilmfest.org; www.pbifilm 
fest.org. 

POLYESTER PRINCE ROAD SHOW May-Sept , 



CA. Deadline: March 1. A non-competitive 
traveling Film Fest. tounng US. Mexico & 
Europe. Work must originally be shot on 
Super 8. 16mm. Pixel 2000 and/or hand 
manufactured. No video and/or Digital video 
submissions Cats: experimental, animation, 
doc. Formats: 16mm, super 8, Mini-DV. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Paolo Davanzo; (213) 484-8846; 
polyesterprince@hotmail.com; www.poly 
esterprince.com. 

ROSEBUD FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, March 27 
28. DC. Deadline: Jan. 23. Founded in 1990, 
the competition is open exdusivly to DC, 
Maryland & Virginia film & video artists & 
seeks to honor the innovative, experimental, 
unusual & deeply personal in creative film & 
video making. The competition is open to all 
works released in previous year. Founded: 
1990. Cats: any style or genre. Awards: 5 
winners incl. one Best of Show will be cho- 
sen. Winners each receive a $1,000 cash 
prize, plus additional products & sen^ices. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $25 (Entry fee incls. a one- 
yr. membership to Arlington Community 
Television, the sponsoring organization). 
Contact: Jackie Steven, Festival Director; 
(703) 524-2388; fax: 908-9239; jax@arlington 
media.org; www.rosebudact.org. 

SAN FRANCISCO INT'L LESBIAN & GAY FILM 
FESTIVAL / FRAMELINE 29, June 16-26, CA 
Deadline: Jan. 7, Feb. 4 (final). Fest one of 
the oldest & most respected, is committed 
to screening the best in Lesbian. Gay, 
Bisexual & Transgender Film. Many works 
premiered in fest go on to be programmed or 
distributed nat'lly & int'lly. Rough cuts 
accepted for preview if submitted on 1/2". 
Fest produced by Frameline, nonprofit arts 
organization dedicated to gay & lesbian 
media arts. Founded: 1976. Cats: any style or 
genre, feature, doc. short, experimental. 
Awards: Frameline Award. Audience Award. 
1st Feature Aaward ($10,000). Excellent Doc 
Award ($10,000). Formats: 35mm. 1/2". 
Beta, 1 6mm, BETA cam SP- NTSC only. VHS- 



NTSC/PAL. Entry Fee: $15-25. Contact: 
Program Coordinator; (415) 703-8650; fax: 
861-1404; info@frameline.org; www.frame 
line.org. 

SAN FRANCISCO SEX WORKERS' FILM & 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, May, CA. Deadline: March 
1. Fest "provides a forum for the accom- 
plishments of sex worker film & videomak- 
ers in a contemporary cinema." Works must 
be directed/produced by someone who has 
worked in the sex industries or be about any 
aspect of sex work or sex industries. 
Founded: 1999. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
experimental, animation, music video, stu- 
dent, youth media, installation, any style or 
genre. Awards: Sex Worker Sinema Awards. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 3/4", DV (mini 
DV preferred for screening). Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $25. Contact: Carol Leigh; 
(415) 751-1659; swfest@bayswan.org; 
www.bayswan.org/sv\rfest.html. 

SANTA CRUZ FILM FESTIVAL, May 5 13, CA 

Deadline: Feb. 15. Fest dubs itself as a "cul- 
turally diverse event that honors the accessi- 
ble to the avant-garde in moving pictures". 
Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, experi- 
mental, student, youth media. Awards: Best 
of in all cats. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta 
SR Mini-DV, DVD. Preview on VHS or DVD. 
Entry Fee: $10(youth); $20 (student); $35 
(short); $45 (feature). Contact: Festival; (831) 
459-7676; jane@seebrightproductions.com; 
www. santacruzf ilmf estival .com . 

SEAHLE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 19-June 
12. WA. Deadline: Feb. 1; March 1. SIFF is 
the largest film fest in the US, presenting 
more than 200 features & 80 short films to 
an audience of over 150,000 filmgoers each 
year. Fest is one of five N. American film 
fests in which presentation will qualify a film 
w/out distribution for submission to the 
Independent Spirit awards. Founded: 1976. 
Cats: feature, doc. short. Awards: Best 
American Independent Film, Best New 
Director (Int'l). Best Short Film & audience- 
based Golden Space Needle, given for fea- 



64 The Independent I January/Februan/ 2005 



ture film, director, actress, actor, doc, & 
shorts. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta, Beta 
SP, DigiBeta. Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry 
Fee: $35-$90. Contact: Cinema Seattle: (206) 
264-7919; fax: 264-7919; info@seattle 
film.com; www.seattlefilm.com. 

SILVERDOCS: AFI/DISCOVERY CHANNEL DOC 
FILM FESTIVAL, June 14-19, MD. Deadline: 
Jan, 28; March 4 (final). Fest was created 
through an alliance between AFI & the 
Discovery Channel to "showcase, honor & 
expand the audience for independent docu- 
mentaries". The Int'l Doc Conference runs 
concurrently June 15-17. Filmmakers can 
attend all Conference panels & workshops & 
sign up for Silver Sessions, small group 
meetings w/ industry pros that connect film- 
makers w/ decision-makers: program execu- 
tives from Discovery, IFC, ITVS, HBO, PBS, 
& more. Networking opportunities abound 
at free breakfasts, lunches & cocktail recep- 
tions. Cats: doc, any style or genre. Preview 
on VHS. Entp/ Fee: $25 (short), $30 (feature) 
$30 (short, final), $35 (feature final). Contact 
Festival; (301)495-6776; fax: 495-6777 
info@silverdocs.com; www.silverdocs.com. 

SPINDLETOP/LAMAR UNIVERSITY FILM 

FESTIVAL, Apnl 15-17, TX. Deadline: Feb. 12. 
Annual fest is dedicated to bringing to light 
the work of new & emerging filmmakers. 
Enjoy workshops and master classes with 
writers, directors, and industry professionals. 
The fest is known for the networking and 
contact opportunities it provides for partici- 
pants. Cats: experimental, feature, narrative, 
short, music video, doc, student, animation. 
Formats: 16mm, super 8, DigiBeta, Beta SR 
1/2", S-VHS, DV, DVD. Preview on VHS or 
DVD. Entn/ Fee: $20; $15 (student). Contact: 
O'Brien Stanley, Dept. of Communication/ 
Lamar University, PO. Box 10050 , 
Beaumont, TX 77710; (409) 880-7222; ruth- 
stanley@juno.com; www.spinfest.org 

TELEVISION DOC FESTIVAL, April, NY 
Deadline: Jan. 15. The Museum of Television 
& Radio hosts this annual fest that premieres 



documentaries of all types, followed by dis- 
cussions w/ filmmakers, & celebrates the 
work of influential documentary makers. 
Founded: 2000. Cats: doc, TV. Formats: Beta, 
Beta SR DigiBeta, DV Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: None. Contact: TV Doc Festival; (212) 
621-6600; (212) 621-6699; TVDocFest 
@mtr.org; www.mtr.org/tvdocfest. 

TEXAS FILM FESTIVAL, March 28 - April 2, TX 
Deadline: Jan. 2, The Texas Film Festival is a 
non-competitive invitational fest run entirely 
by student volunteers w/in the MSC Film 
Society. Since 1993, their purpose has been 
to celebrate contemporary independent film- 
makers & to promote film as an artistic medi- 
um focusing on education rather than secur- 
ing distribution. Founded: 1993. Cats: doc, 
feature, short. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$30 (features); $20 (student features; $15 
(Shorts). Contact: c/o MSC Film Society; 
(979) 845-1515; fax: 845-5117; txfilm 
fest@msc.tamu.edu; www txfilmfest org 

TRENTON FILM FESTIVAL, April 29 - May 1, 
NJ Deadline: Nov. 1; Jan. 15 (final). Located 
one hour south of NYC, 30 min. north of 
Philadelphia & 8 miles from Princeton, 
Trenton is a great showcase for independent 
& foreign filmmakers. The three-day fest 
screens over sixty films at four venues & has 
the New Jersey State Museum as its mam 
theatre. Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, 
experimental. Awards: Ernie Kovacs award in 
each category. Formats: Beta. Mini-DV, DVD. 
preview on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: $35/$45 
(features); $25/$35 (shorts). Contact: Kevin 
Williams; (609) 396-6966; fax: 392-3634; 
info@trentonfilmfestival.org; www.trenton 
filmfestival.org. 

TRIBECA UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 

April 21 -May 1, NY Deadline: March 1. Works 
can range between 5 to 30 min.. Founded: 
2004. Cats: short, any style or genre. Formats: 

DVD. Preview on DVD. Entry Fee: $15. 
Contact: c/o A Taste of Art; (212) 964-5493; 
info@befilm.net; www.tribecaunderground 
filmfestival.org. 



UNITED STATES SUPER 8MM FILM & DIGITAL 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, February 18-20, NJ. 
Deadline: Jan, 21, Annual fest encourages 
any genre, but work must have predomi- 
nantly originated on Super 8 film or hi-8 or 
digital video. Festival mandate is to spread 
the 8mm & digital word. Toward that end the 
Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC has sponsored 
seven touring programs, culled from fest 
winners for the past several years, which 
have travelled extensively & seen new audi- 
ences. Cats: any style or genre. Awards: 
$4,000 in cash & prizes; selected winners go 
on Best of Fest Int'l Tour. Formats: Hi8, 
super 8, 16mm, 1/2", 3/4", DV, 8mm. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $40 (check or 
money order payable to Rutgers Film 
Co-op/NJMAC). Contact: AG. Nigrin; (732) 
932-8482; fax: 932-1935; njmac@aol.com; 
www.njfilmfest.com. 

WESTCHESTER INT'L FILM FESTIVAL March 
10-12, NY. Deadline: Feb 1. This Festival is 
situated in Westchester, New York state's 
premier location, offering extraordinary sites 
for filmmaking, still photography & commer- 
cials. Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, 
student, script. Awards: Jury Awards 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, DV, VHS. Preview 
on VHS. Entn/ Fee: $25 (screenplays & stu- 
dents), $35 (all others). Contact: Iris Stevens, 
Director; (914) 995-2917; fax: (914) 
995-2948; iis3@westchestergov.com; 

www.westchestergov.com/filmoffice. 

WORLDFEST HOUSTON INT'L FILM & VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, April 22-May 1, TX. Deadline: Nov. 
15; Dec. 15; Jan. 15 (final). WorldFest has 
reduced the number of films screened to a 
maximum of 60 feature & 100 short pre- 
mieres, w/ a total & absolute emphasis on 
American & Int'l Independent feature films. 
Fest honors films from Mexico, Canada, 
France & Germany. Associated market for 
features, shorts, documetanes, video, inde- 
pendent/experimental & TV. Fest also offers 
3-day seminars on writing, producing & 
directing, plus distribution & finance. 
Founded: 1961. Cats: feature, doc, short. 



January/Februan/ 2005 I The Independent 65 



^^(■Wr e 
' stft&nt 



expenn^ • 
stOOint, youtti Mcu.a 7V. children, family. 
Awards: Student Awards Program. Scripts & 
screenplays also have competition. Cash, 
services & equipment awards. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta SR S-VHS, 
DigiBeta, U-matic, DVD. CD-ROM, Web. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $40-$90 
Contact: Team Worldfest, Entry Director; 
(713) 965-9955; fax: (713) 965-9960; 
mail@worldfest.org; www.worldfest.org. 

INTERNATIONAL 



nation, rhusic video;^*'S)("Rockie" Award sculpture. Other prizes 
''include: Global TV Grand Prize, $50,000; 
NHK President's Prize, $25,000 (pro)ect shot 
or postproduced on HDTV); Telefilm Canada 
Prizes, two $20,000 awards for the Best 
Independent Canadian Production in English 
& in French. . Formats: Beta, Beta SP VHS 
(PAL). Entry Fee: $250 (payable in U.S. or 
Canadian dollars); $100 (original content cre- 
ated for webcasting, w no prior or simulta- 
neous appearance in another medium). 
Contact: Festival; (403)678-9260; fax: 678- 
9269; info@banfftvfest.com; www.banff 
2003.com. 



$100 FILM FESTIVAL, March, Canada 
Deadline: Jan. 28. Annual fest encourages 
new & experienced filmmakers from around 
the world to exhibit short Super 8 & 16mm 
films. Entnes outside Canada should label 
packages: "Cultural Purposes. No Comm- 
ercial Value." Founded: 1991. Cats: short, 
experimental. Awards: Cash awards: $500- 
$1,000. Formats: super 8, 16mm. Preview on 
VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers; 
(403) 205-4747; fax: 237-5838; info@csif.org; 
www.csif. org/1 OOfilmfest/index.htm. 

ANNECY INT'L ANIMATED FILM FESTIVAL 

June 6-1 1 , France. Deadline: Jan. 1 5. Annecy 
is the top ranking competitive int'l fest 
entirely dedicated to animation. The Festival 
competition is now open to four cats giving a 
diversity of techniques ranging through 
watercolour to 3D, by way of paper cut-outs 
& plasticine. Cats: animation, feature, short, 
music video, children. Awards: Annecy 
awards. Formats: 35mm, Betacam SP, 
Digital Betacam Pal, 16mm, Beta SP, 
DigiBeta. Preview on VHS, DVD, BetaSP 
PAL. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Laurent 
Million; Oil 450 100 900; fax: 450 100 970; 
info@annecy.org; www.annecy.org. 

BANFF TELEVISION FESTIVAL, June 12-15, 
Canada. Deadline: Feb. 14. This fest is 
Canada's premier int'l event for program 
makers & content creators in television & 
new media. Founded: 1979. Cats: anima- 
tion, arts docs, children, comedies, continu- 
ing series, history & biography, info, made- 
for-TV-movies, mini-series, performance, 
popular science & natural history, short dra- 
mas, social & political docs, sports programs, 
doc. TV. Awards: Producers of programs 
judged best in the 14 cats will receive a 



CANADIAN FILM CENTRE'S WORLDWIDE 
SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, June 14-19. Canada. 

Deadline: Feb. 28 This fest is dedicated to 
celebrating & sharing w/ audiences the excit- 
ing world of short film. Cats: short, doc. ani- 
mation, experimental. Awards: cash awards 
& various prizes. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
Beta SP, NTSC. DigiBeta. Preview on VHS or 
DVD. Entry Fee: $15. Contact: Canadian Film 
Centre; (416) 445-1446; fax: 445-9481 ; short- 
filmfest@cdnfilmcentre.com; www. world 
wideshortfilmfest.com. 

DUBROVNIK INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 24- 

29, Croatia. Deadline: March 1 . Dubrovnik is 
a tiny city but nonetheless uniquely impres- 
sive & historical, neatly enveloped in the 
blanket of thick stone fortress walls. 
Following the rich heritage of its location, 
this film fest strives to showcase the very 
best in the world of film arts & cultural treas- 
ures. Cats: doc, short, feature, music video. 
Awards: Various juried awards. Formats: 
35mm. Betacam SR DVD, Pal, NTSC, . 
Preview on DVD or VHS. Entn/ Fee: $20 
(shorts); $35 (features); other fees (check 
website for details). Contact: Program 
Department; (310) 903-0483; program 
@dubrovnikiff.org; www.dubrovnikiff.org. 

EILAT INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, April 6-9, Israel. 
Deadline: Jan 15. The fest provides a plat- 
form & respectable stage for veteran & 
beginner filmmakers alike of quality films 
from all over the world to showcase & pro- 
mote their creations. Cats: feature, children, 
Israeli . Formats: VHS. Preview on VHS. 
Contact: Festival; www.eilatfilmfest.com. 

INSIDE OUT TORONTO LESBIAN AND GAY 
FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, May 20-30, Canada. 



Deadline: Jan. 14. Fest hosts the largest les- 
bian & gay fest in Canada & one of the 
largest in the world. Previous years fests 
screened 300 plus films & videos in 84 pro- 
grams w/ sold out screenings. Fest has 
assisted in securing theatrical & broadcast 
distribution for several films & videos 
through relationships w/ Canadian film & TV 
entities. Fest is not only a highly anticipated 
cultural event renowned for its hospitality & 
integrity in programming, but an excellent 
opportunity to network w/ other independent 
film & video makers & interested industry 
representatives. Founded: 1991. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, short, animation, experimental, 
music video, student, youth media, family, 
children, TV. Awards: Awards are given for 
both local & int'l work. The Bulloch Award for 
Best Canadien Work, the Akau Award for 
Best Lesbian Short, the Cruiseline Award for 
Best gay Male Short, & the Charles St. Video 
Award for Best Emerging Toronto Artist. 
Audience Awards incl. the Showcase Award 
for Best Feature, the Ellen Flanders Award 
for Best Doc & the Mikey Award for Best 
Short. In all, more than $5,000 in cash & 
prizes is awarded annually. Formats: 16mm, 
Beta, 35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
None. Contact: Kathleen Mullen; (416) 977- 
6847; fax: 977-8025; inside@insideout.on.ca; 
www.insideout.on.ca. 

INT'L FEATURE FILM COMPETITION FOR 
WOMEN FILM DIRECTOS, April 12 17, 
Germany. Deadline: Jan. 9. Festival organiz- 
es every 2 years as an int'l film fest centered 
on one topical theme which also incls. his- 
torical aspects. They highlights those films 
that came into being largely as a result of 
women's efforts director, screenwriter, sound 
technician, camera operator or editor. The fest 
is a non-competitive framework. Founded: 
1987. Cats: Any style or genre, feature, doc, 
short. Awards: Grand prize 25,000 Euro. 
Formats: All formats accepted, 35mm. 
16mm, S-VHS, Beta, Beta SR DigiBeta, U- 
matic. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 25 Euro. 
Contact: femme totale e.V., c/o Kulturburo 
Stadt Dortmund, ; 01 1 49 231 50 25 162; fax: 
01 1 49 231 50 25 734; info@femmetotale.de; 
www.femmetotale.de. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL OF URUGUAY March 1 9- 
April 3, Uruguay. Deadline: Jan. 15. Annual 
fest devoted to short & feature length, doc, 
fiction, experimental, Latin American & int'l 



66 The Independent I January/Februan/ 2005 



films, w/ purpose of promoting film quality & 
human & conceptual values. Ind. fest aims at 
being frame for meetings & discussions of 
regional projects & of mutual interest. Fest 
has 4 sections: Int'l Full Length Film Show; 
Int'l Doc & Experimental Film Show; Info 
Show; Espacio Uruguay. Films should be 
subtitled, have Spanish version, or have a list 
of texts or dialogues translated into Spanish 
or in English, French or Portuguese for fest 
to translate. Films wishing to compete must 
be completed after Jan. 1 of the past two 
years. Founded: 1982. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, experimental, animation, student. 
Awards: Best Film; Jury Prize; Opera Prima 
Prize. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, S-VHS, U- 
matic, Beta SP, DVD, DV. Preview on VHS. 
Entn/ Fee: None. Contact: Manuel Martinez 
CarnI; Oil 5982 418 9819; fax: 5982 419 
4572; cinemuy@chasque.net; www. cine 
mateca.org.uy. 

INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL HAMBURG, June 
8-13, Germany. Deadline: Feb. 15. Annual 
Festival is a forum for presenting diversity of 
int'l short films & providing a meeting place 
for filmmakers from home & abroad. 
Consecutively run w/ the Hamburg 
Children's Film Festival. Shorts must be 
under 20 mm., except for Three-Minute 
Quickie entries (must be under 3 mm.) 
Founded: 1985. Cats: short, any style or 
genre, children. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
super 8, S-VHS, Beta SR DVD, 1/2", Mini-DV 
Preview on VHS. If previews are not in 
German or English, please enclose text list. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: c/o Short Film 
Agency; Oil 49 40 39 10 6323; fax: 39 10 
6320; festi val@shortfilm.com; www.short- 
film.com. 

MILAN INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, March 10-20, 
Italy. Deadline: September 30 (early), January 
31 (final). MIFF was founded to encourage & 
support the work of independent & experi- 
mental filmmakers & provide a world-class 
int'l platform to showcase their films. 
Founded: 2000. Cats: feature, short. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Video. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: Features: $50 (early), $90 
(final; Shorts: $30 (early), $50 (final). Contact: 
MIFF or FFIM; Oil 39 02 8918 1179; 
info@miff.it; www.miff.it. 

NATFILM FESTIVAL, April, Denmark 
Deadline: Jan. 1. Annual fest is the biggest 



film event in Denmark showcasing 140 fea- 
ture-length films & attended by 40,000 peo- 
ple. Again this yr. a number of foreign films 
secured theatrical release or TV-sale in 
Denmark as a direct result of successful fest 
screenings. Note that only features are 
screened (minimum 65 mm.). Only prints w/ 
English dialogue or subtitles accepted. Cats: 
feature, doc. Awards: Nat'l Prize & 
Distribution Prize (awarded by audience). 
Formats: 35mm, Beta SP, DV-cam. Preview 
on VHS or DVD. Entn/ Fee: None. Contact: 
Kim Foss, Fest Dir.; Oil 45 3312 0005; fax: 
45 3312 7505; info@natfilm.dk; www.nat 
film.dk. 

OBERHAUSEN INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 

May 5-10, Germany. Deadline: Jan. 15. The 
world's oldest short film fest offers a forum 
for aesthetic & technological innovation & 
reflection. There are no limits as to form or 
genre but films in the Int'l & Children's & 
Youth Competitions must not exceed 35 
mm. & have been made after Jan. 1 of the 
previous year. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta 
SP/PAL, DV S-VHS, Super 8, DVD. Preview 
on VHS or S-VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
Melanie Piguel, Coordinator; 01 1 49 208 825 
2652; fax: 49 208 825 5413; info@kurzfilm 
tage.de; www.kurzfilmtage.de. 

SINGAPORE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, April 1 5-30, 
Singapore Deadline: Jan 15. Invitational fest 
offers non-competitive & competitive sec- 
tion for Asian cinema, w/ award for best 
Asian feature. Open to features completed 
after Jan, 1 of preceding yr. Entries must be 
Singapore premieres. About 120 features 
shown each yr, along w/ 60 shorts & videos 
from 60 countries. Mam section shows 
35mm; all other formats accepted in fringe 
programs. Several US ind films have been 
featured m past editions. Cats: Short, 
Feature, Doc, Animation. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta SP Preview on VHS or DVD. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: Philip Cheah, 
Festival Director; 01 1 65 738 7567; fax: 01 1 
65 738 7578; filmfest@pacific.net.sg; 
www.filmfest.org.sg. 

SKIP CITY INT'L D-CINEMA FESTIVAL, July 1 6 

24, Japan. Deadline: Jan. 15. Fest celebrates 
the growing possibilities & rising talents 
powered by cutting-edge technology. The 
mam program showcases the new wave of 
digital productions. Cats: feature, short, any 



style or genre, animation, experimental, doc. 
Awards: A total of 150,000 Yen in awards. 
Formats: Most Digital formats, DVD, Mini- 
DV, 1/2". Entn/ Fee: None. Contact: Festival; 
Oil 81 48 263 0818; fax: Oil 81 262 5635; 
info@skipcity-dcf.jp; www.skipcity-dcf.jp. 

TURIN INT'L GAY & LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL. 

April 24-28, Italy. Deadline: Jan. 31. Italy's 
oldest gay & lesbian fest. Entries should be 
by lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender filmmak- 
ers or address related themes & issues. 
Competition section divided between 3 
juries: doc, long feature & short feature. 
Panorama section features new int'l produc- 
tions. Founded: 1986. Cats: doc, feature, 
short. Awards: Ottavio Mai Award presented 
to Best Feature in competition worth $1 500.. 
Formats: 1/2", 35mm, 16mm, Beta SR DVD, 
DV. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Angelo Acerbi, Head programmer; 
390 11 534 888; fax: 535 796; 
info@tlgff.com, www.tlgff.com. 

VIOEOEX INT'L EXPERIMENTAL FILM & VIDEO 

FESTIVAL, May 19-29, Switzerland. Deadline: 
Jan. 30. Cats: experimental. Entn/ Fee: None. 
Contact: Festival; Oil 41 43 322 0813; fax: 
322 0815; info@videoex.ch; www.videoex.ch. 

YORKTON SHORT FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

May 26-29, Canada. Deadline: Feb. 15. 
Longest running fest of its kind in Canada. 
Awards avail, m 18 genre cats, 16 craft cats. 
Festival mcls. public screenings, mini cine- 
ma, workshops & activities. Cats: Doc, 
Children, short. Awards: The Golden Sheaf 
Award. Formats: 1/2", DVD. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee CAN $75. Contact: Festival; 
(306) 782-7077; fax: (306) 782-1550; 
info@yorktonshortfilm.org; www.yorkton 
shortfilm.org. 



ATVF members can 

access more festival 

listings at 

www. aivf.org/festivals 



Januan//February 2005 I The Independent 67 



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BUY I RENT I SELL 

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE AT LOW PRICES, NO 
RESTRICTIONS Offering a High Quality, 
Extensive Library of Public Domain 
Footage spanning the 20th Century at 
pnces independent producers can afford. 
Footage Farm (888) 270-1414; 
www.footagefarm.com. 

BETWEEN ASSIGNMENTS PRODUCTIONS has 
a brand new Panasonic AG DVX100 24p 
for rental. $300/wk or $100/day.You can't 
find a better price!! Convenient down- 
town location. Contact Dave Hanna, 646- 
729-7210. 

WRITERS HANGOUT IN SANTA MONICA. 

theOffice serves as the ideal backdrop for 
people who want to feel inspired. We are 
a quiet workspace in a cafe-like atmos- 
phere. We offer ergonomic furniture, full 
reference library, complimentary internet 
access, Bose Noise Reduction 
Headphones, espresso drinks and teas. 
Visit theOfficeonline.com or call 310-917- 
4455. 

FREELANCE 

35MM & 16MM PROD. PKG. w/ DP Complete 
package w/ DP's own Arri 35BL, 16SR, 
HMIs, lighting, dolly. Tulip crane, camjib, 
DAT, gnp & 5-ton truck. . . more. Call for 



reel: Tom Agnello (201) 741-4367; road 
toindy@aol.com. 

ACADEMY, EMMY NOMINATED EDITOR 

(HOOP DREAMS) seeks edit jobs: docs, 
fiction; film, video; experimental, tradition- 
al TV. Cut on Avid, FCP flatbeds. Also 
consulting, cut reviews, etc. No sweat 
equity or deferrals, fdm@fmarxfilm.com. 

ACCOUNTANT/BOOKKEEPER/CONTROLLER 

Experience in both corporate & nonprofit 
sectors. Hold MBA in Marketing & 
Accounting. Freelance work sought. Sam 
Sagenkahn (917)374-2464. 

ANDREW DUNN, Director of Photography/ 
camera operator Arri35 BL3, Aaton 
XTRprod SI 6, Sony DVCAM. Experience in 
features, docs, TV & industrials. Credits: 
Dog Run, Strays, Working Space/Working 
Light. (212) 477-0172; AndrewD158 
@aol.com. 

CAMERAMAN/STEADICAM OPERATOR 

Owner Steadicam, Arn 35 BL, Arri 16 SR, 
Beta SP Stereo TC Nagra 4, TC Fostex PD- 
4 DAT, lighting packages to shoot fea- 
tures, music videos, commercials, etc. Call 
Mik Cnbben for info & reel, (212) 929-7728 
in NY or 800-235-2713 in Miami. 

COMPOSER: Acclaimed composer and film 
music producer Richard Martinez will work 



with you to add the music that will give 
your film its final weight. His Academy 
award winning experience (Frida) and 
technology expertise of every facet of 
music production, will make your film or 
doc shine. Call (917) 739-9410. 

CLASSY YET AFFORDABLE Credits and 
demos at: www.lightbodymusic.com Light 
Body Music, Inc. 914-739-9410. New York 
area. 

COMPOSER KEVIN KELLER specializes in 
music for documentary and feature films. 
Recent projects: NY Times 9/1 1 and 
Roundabout Theater docs. Download free 
demos at www.kevinkeller.com or call 
(917) 520-8115; kkproductions@earth 
link.net. 

COMPOSER MIRIAM CUTLER LOVES TO COL- 
LABORATE - docs, features. Lost In La 
Mancha/IFC, Scout's Honor, Licensed To 
Kill, Pandemic: Facing Aids/HBO, Indian 
Point/HBO, Positively Naked/HBO, Stolen 
Childhoodsa, Amy's & more. (310) 398- 
5985 mir.cut@verizon.net. www.miriam 
cutler.com. 

DP WITH ARRI SR SUPER 16/16MM and 

35BL-2 camera packages. Expert lighting 
and camerawork for independent films, 
music videos, etc. Superb results on a 
short schedule and low budget. Great 



68 The Independent I January/February 2005 



prices. Willing to travel. Matthew 617-244- 
6730. 

EDITOR FINAL CUT PRO POWER-MAC G4. 

2003-4 NYFA Grant Winner. $65/hr or by 
day/wk. Discounts: Members of Arts Orgs, 
Unions, Students, Seniors. Transfers, 
labels, dupes, stills, photos, DVDs. Village. 
Bill Creston, eMediaLoft.org (212) 924- 
4893. 

FREELANCE CAMERA GROUP IN NYC seeking 
professional cameramen and soundmen 
w/ solid Betacam experience to work w/ 
wide array of clients. If qualified, contact 
COA at (212) 505-1 91 1 . Must have docu- 
mentary/news samples or reel. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING Research, 
writing & strategy (for production, distribu- 
tion, exhibition & educational media proj- 
ects). Successful proposals to NYSCA, 
NEA, NEH, ITVS, Soros, Rockefeller, Lila 
Acheson Wallace Foundation. Fast writers, 
reasonable rates. Wanda Bershen, (212) 
598-0224; www.reddiaper.com. 

LOCATION SOUND Over 25 yrs sound exp. 
w/ timecode Nagra & DAT, quality mics & 
mixers. Reduced rates for low-budget proj- 
ects. Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677- 
5720; (819) 459-2680; edfilms@world 
net.att.net; www.edwardsfilms.com. 

SOUND RECORDIST / PLAYBACK OP available 
for Features, Muisc Videos, and Corporate. 
Equipment- Dat / Nagra (time code), 5 
wireless mics, mixers, playback speakers, 
smart slate, comteks, cart: Derek Morse 
(212)620-0084. 

STEADICAM OPERATOR NY based,expen 
enced and professional.Top of the line 
equipment: TB-6 monitor,2xBFD Follow 
Focus/ Aperture, Modulus. 35mm, 16mm, 
HD, BetaSR Call George @ 212-620-0084. 



TRANSCRIBING FOR FILMMAKERS' Use 

transcnpts for logging, editing, transla- 
tions, DVD extras, fundraising. Email wav, 
mp3, etc. and I return Word doc. Write to 
discuss your project. I love my work! 
DrFlexMatnx@yahoo.com. 

OPPORTUNITIES I GIGS 

50 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO BUSI- 
NESS. FREE REPORT Grow a successful 
video business in Legal, Wedding, 
Corporate, TV and more. http://videouni 
versity.com/50web.htm. 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF A FACULTY POSITION in 

the Department of Communication 
Studies at The University of North Carolina 
at Chapel Hill POSITION: Assistant 
Professor in Media Production, beginning 
July 1, 2005. Appointment is tenure track. 
Qualifications include the following: an 
MFA or PhD (or completion during the 
2004-2005 academic year) in media, film, 
television, communication, or a related dis- 
cipline. Candidates should demonstrate a 
significant record of, or potential for, the 
production of creative work in narrative 
and/or experimental filmmaking, as well as 
strong teaching, and service. Salary is 
competitive. RESPONSIBILITIES: Respon- 
sibilities will include teaching undergradu- 
ate and graduate courses in media produc- 
tion, supervising theses, engaging in 
creative research and production, and 
performing departmental service, and 
broader community service. Applicants 
should have expertise in one or more areas 
of media production including but not limit- 
ed to video/film/multimedia production. 
The department is committed to the 
integration of theory and practice. GENER- 
AL INFORMATION: The Depart-ment of 
Communication Studies has 22 full-time 
faculty positions with existing areas 
of emphasis in Media Studies, 



Communication and Cultural Studies, 
Performance Studies, Rhetorical Studies, 
and Interpersonal and Organizational 
Communication. Approx-imately 1000 
undergraduates and 60 MA and Ph.D. 
graduate students major in the 
Department. Additional information about 
the Department can be found at 
www.unc.edu/depts/comm.The University 
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is located in 
one corner of the Research Triangle and 
has an enrollment of approximately 26,000 
undergraduate, graduate, and professional 
students. UNC-CH enjoys a reputation as 
one of the nation, s leading research uni- 
versities. The Triangle area, including 
Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, has a 
population of over one million people and 
contains over 100 research and business 
institutions. The Research Triangle area 
has been ranked as the best place to live in 
the United StatesO Please do not send sam- 
ples of creative work unless specifically 
requested to do so. Unsolicited materials 
will not be returned. Applications will be 
reviewed beginning Januan/ 7, 2005 and 
will continue to be reviewed until the posi- 
tion IS filled. APPLICATION PROCEDURES 
Qualified applicants should send a current 
vita, evidence of teaching effectiveness, 
and four letters of reference to: Francesca 
Talenti, Chair Media Production Search 
Committee Department of Communication 
Studies CB# 3285, Bingham Hall The 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3285 The 
University of North Carolina is an Equal 
Opportunity Employer. 

THE DIGITAL CINEMA SOCIETY, is a format 
agnostic nonprofit dedicated to educating 
filmmakers about digital production, post, 
delivery, and exhibition. Have access to 
streaming content, forums, classified and 
more for $15.00 www.digitalcinemasoci 
ety.org filmmakers@aol.com. 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 69 



FLAHERTY 
2005 

51st 

Robert Flaherty 

Film Seminar 



Jesse lerner 
& Michael Renov 

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March Z6. 2005 



lEEISTER ONLINE IT 

www.flah8rtyseniinar.org 
tel. 212.448.0457 



EXPERIMENTAL/NEW MEDIA FILMMAKER 
SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE'S VISUAL ARTS 

Program announces a half-time, tenure- 
track position, beginning fall 2005 to teach 
film and new media production as part of a 
liberal arts curriculum. The ideal candidate 
Will have a strong background in teaching 
and filmmaking, an extensive exhibition 
record and the ability to teach beginning 
and advanced students in both group and 
individual study. Please send resume, pro- 
posals for two courses (one beginning; 
one advanced) and three letters of recom- 
mendation (please, no films) to: 
Filmmaking Search, c/o Rosemary Weeks, 
Sarah Lawrence College, 1 Mead Way, 
Bronxville, NY 10708. Application dead- 
line: February 25, 2005. Sarah Lawrence 
College is a small liberal arts college with a 
unique pedagogy based on small classes 
and individual tutorials. For information on 
Sarah Lawrence College, our curriculum, 
teaching methods, and philosophy of edu- 
cation, please visit our Web site: 
http://www.slc.edu. For information about 
the College's new Visual Arts Center, go 
to: www.slc.edu/vacenter. Sarah 
Lawrence has a strong commitment to the 
principle of diversity. In that spirit we 
especially welcome applications from 
under-represented groups. 

PREPRODUCTION I 
DEVELOPMENT 

HOLLYWOOD SCRIPT CONSULTANT 

Internationally award winning writer/direc- 
tor, story analyst for Phoenix Pictures 
(Holes, Apt Pupil, U-Turn), offers in depth 
constructive critical analysis of your 
screenplay. Get essential feedback before 
making important submissions. Ezmiar 
Productions, 818-841-3616 or scnptconsul 
tant@earthlink.net 

W/ 8 YEARS MIRAMAX EXPERIENCE, 

scnpt/story/creative consultant Maureen 
Nolan offers a full range of consulting serv- 
ices for writers and filmmakers. Script con- 
sults, coaching, story development, 
rewrites, etc. 212-663-9389 or 917-620- 
6502. 



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POSTPRODUCTION 

AUDIO POST PRODUCTION: Full service audio 
post-production facility. Mix-to-picture, 
ADR, voice-over, sound design & editing. 
Features, shorts, docs, TV & Radio. 
Contact Andy, All Ears Inc: (718) 399-6668 
(718) 496-9066 andy@allearspost.com. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY film-to-tape trans- 
fers, wet-gate, scene-by-scene, reversal 
film only. Camera original Regular 8mm, 
Super 8, and 16mm. For appointment call 
(978) 948-7985. 

CERTIFIED FINAL CUT PRO INSTRUCTOR AND 
EDITOR. DV and Beta SP editing - learn Final 
Cut Pro from professional editor and Apple 
certified instructor. Log onto 
www.HighNoonProd.com, or call 917-523- 
6260; email: info@HighNoonProd.com. 

NEGATIVE CUniNG for features, short films 
etc. Expert conforming of 35mm, Super 16 
or 16mm negative to workprint or Avid cut 
list. Superb quality work and absolutely 
clean cuts. Great prices. Matthew 617-244- 
6730 mwdp@att.net. 

POST-SOUND/RECORDING STUDIO IN DUMBO 

offers best prices for your sound work: 
ADR, SFX, original score composition, 
recording, mixing, editing and DVD author- 
ing. Info/Contact: www.soundbridge.us - 
herbied@soundbndge.us - (718) 722-7818. 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS: Verbatim tran- 
scription service for documentaries, jour- 
nalists, film and video. Low pnces & flat 
rates based on tape length, www.produc- 
tiontranscripts.com for details or call: (888) 
349-3022. 

VETERAN PICTURE & SOUND EDITOR- credits 
include Kojack, Ron Howard's Parenthood, 
and Woody Allen's Bananas-looking for fea- 
tures, docs, shorts, commercials and music 
videos. Rates negotiable, but no defer- 
ments. References available. Platform 
includes latest Final Cut Pro and Avid 
Xpress Pro. (917) 414-8843 montlack 
@ix. netcom.com. quality work and absolute- 
ly clean cuts. Great prices. Matthew 617- 
244-6730 mwdp@att.net. 



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70 The Independent 1 Januan//Februan/ 2005 



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DISTRIBUTION 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS VIDEOS 

on guidance issues such as violence, drug 
prevention, mentoring, children's health & 
parenting for exclusive distribution. Our nnar- 
keting gives unequaled results! Call Sally 
Germain at The Bureau for At-Risk Youth: 
(800) 99-YOUTH x. 210. 

FANLIGHT PRODUCTIONS 20+ years as an 

industn/ leader! Join more than 100 award- 
winning film & video producers. Send us 
your new works on healthcare, mental 
health, aging, disabilities, and related issues. 
(800) 937-41 13; www.fanlight.com. 

NEW DAY FILMS seeks energetic independ- 
ent film and video makers with social issue 
docs for distribution to non-theatrical mar- 
kets. If you want to maximize your audience 
while working within a remarkable communi- 
ty of activist filmmakers. New Day is the per- 
fect home for your film. New Day is commit- 
ted to promoting diversity within our mem- 
bership and the media we represent. Explore 
our catalog at www.newday.com, then con- 
tact Heidi Emberling at join@newday.com or 
(650)347-5123 



THE CINEMA GUILD, leading film/video/multi- 
media distributor, seeks new doc, fiction, 
educational & animation programs for distri- 
bution Send videocassettes or discs for 
evaluation to: The Cinema Guild, 130 
Madison Ave., 2nd fl.. New York, NY 10016; 
(212) 685-6242; Ask for our Distribution 
Services brochure. 

ITVS funds, distributes and promotes new 
programs primarily for public television. We 
work with independent producers to create 
and present programs that take creative 
risks, advance issues and represent points of 
view not usually seen on public or commer- 
cial television. ITVS is committed to pro- 
gramming that addresses the needs of 
under-served and underrepresented audi- 
ences. We look for programs that bring new 
audiences to public television and that 
expand civic participation by bringing diverse 
voices into the public sphere. For more info 
on receiving funding, visit www.itvs.org. 

MICROCINEMAS I SCREENING 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE accepts entries for 
Its ongoing program. The Alternative Screen: 
A Forum for Independent Film Exhibition & 



Beyond. Looking primarily for feature films 
w/o wide distribution, but also will consider 
shorts, animation, new media, etc. for other 
programs & showcases. Send 1/2" VHS view- 
ing tape, press kit (any written background 
materials), cover letter w/ contact info & 
S A.S.E to: Margot Gerber, The Alternative 
Screen, 1800 N. Highland, Ste. 717, L.A., CA 
90028. Tel.: (323) 466-3456 x115; fax: 461- 
9737; www.americancinematheque.com. 

CELLULOID SOCIAL CLUB s a monthly 
screening series in Vancouver featuring the 
best in independent provocative short & 
feature films & videos followed by fun & frol- 
ic. Hosted by Ken Hegan at the ANZA Club, 
#3 West 8th Ave., Vancouver, BC. No 
minors. Prizes galore. For info call (604) 730- 
8090; info@alterentertainment.com; 

www.CelluloidSocialClub.com. 

CINEMARENO a year-round festival of films. 
Monthly screenings showcase independent 
films and videos. Formats: 16mm, Beta-SR 
Mini-DV. Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry fee: 
$20; fee waived for AIVF members. Entn/ 
form & instructions at www.cinemareno.org. 
Contact: Cinemareno, PO Box 5372, Reno, 

January/Februan/ 2005 I The Independent 71 



FILMS/TAPES WANTED 



NV 89513. Entry form and guidelines at: 
www.cinemareno.org. 

DAHLIA'S FLIX & MIX, a weekly showcase of 
new film & music held on Tuesdays at NY's 
Sugar, is seeking submissions. Showcases 
fresh and previously undistributed film & 
video work, as well as DJs spinning great 
music. No guest list, cover charge, or sub- 
mission fee For more information, contact 
dsmith@independentfilm.com or stop by 
Sugar any Tuesday evening (doors open 7pm, 
screenings begin 8pm). To submit your film, 
please send a VHS or DVD copy and a bnef 
synopsis to; Dahlia Smith, c/o SUGAR, 311 
Church St., New York, NY 10013 

DEAF & HARD OF HEARING FILM PROGRAM, 

hosted by Film Society of Lincoln Center, 
seeks original films or videos, from 1-20 min., 
to include w/ monthly screenings of open-cap- 
tioned featured films at Walter Reade Theater. 
Films w/ artistic involvement from deaf artists 
preferred, but not required. Seeking original 
work that can be understood by deaf audience 
(dialogue must be subtitled). Send 1/2" video 
copy (nonreturnable) to: The Film Society of 
Lincoln Center, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Film 
Program, 165 W. 65th St., 4th fl.. New York, 
NY 10023; (212) 875-5638; sbens man@film- 
linc.com. 

DETROIT FILM CENTER accepts short films on 
an on-going basis! No entry fee. Submissions 
on mini DV, 16mm or super 8 are preferred 
(VHS or DVD is okay for preview). Send sub- 
missions (on Mini-Dv, 16mm, or Super 8) to: 
Detroit Film Center c/o Boxcar 1227 
Washington Blvd. Detroit, Mi 48226 Please 
include SASE for return of your work. For 
more information please visit www.detroit 
film.org/pages/boxcar.html or email boxcarcin 
ema@hotm3il.com. 

FIRST SUNDAYS COMEDY FILM FESTIVAL is a 

monthly festival featuring the best in comedy 
and short film/video/animation followed by an 
after-screening networking event. An ongoing 
festival held the first Sunday of each month in 
New York, First Sundays is the premiere 
opportunity to showcase your work and meet 
talented directors and other indie dv/film folk. 
For submission application and other festival 
guidelines email film@chicagovitylimits.com 



or visit www.firstsundavs.com 

FLICKER NYC is a bi-monthly show of new 
Super 8 and 16mm films by local filmmakers 
held at the Knitting Factory. Each show fea- 
tures new films, vintage Super 8 reels, home- 
made cookies, raffles for Super 8 stock, T- 
shirts, and Flicker Super 8 guides. 
Submissions are ongoing and FREE. Please 
visit www.flickernyc.com for more informa- 
tion or to be added to the mailing list. 

MAKOR continues its Reel Jews Film Festival 
& ongoing screening series showcasing the 
work of emerging Jewish filmmakers. Now 
accepting shorts, features, docs, and/or 
works in progress, regardless of theme, for 
screening consideration. Program sponsored 
by Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons 
Foundation. Contact Ken Sherman: (212) 
413-8821; ksher man@92ndstyorg. 

MICROCINEMA'S INDEPENDENT EXPOSURE 

2005, an ongoing microcinema screening pro- 
gram of international short films, videos & 
digital works has been presented hundreds 
of times in 35 countries and Antarctica and 
2005 is its tenth season. Seeking short video, 
film & digital media submissions of 1 5 min. or 
fewer on an ongoing basis for the ongoing 
screening and touring program. Artists quali- 
fy for a nonexclusive distribution deal, incl. 
additional license fees for DVD sales. 
Looking for short narrative, alternative, 
humorous, dramatic, erotic, animation, etc. 
Works selected may continue on to nat'l & 
int'l venues for additional screenings. Submit 
DVD or VHS (NTSC/PAL) labeled w/ name, 
title, length, phone # & any support materials, 
incl. photos. Submissions will not be 
returned. Contact: Joel S. Bachar, 
Microcinema International, 531 Utah St., San 
Francisco, CA 941 10; info@microcinema.com; 
www.microcinema.com. 

NEW FILMMAKERS at New York's Anthology 
Film Archives seeks submissions for weekly 
screening series. No fee or form required. 
Send a VHS copy of your film or video w/ a 
brief synopsis to David Maquiling, New 
Filmmakers, Anthology Film Archives, 32 
Second Avenue, New York, NY 10009. For 
more info, visit www.newfilm makers.com. 



ROOFTOP FILMS is accepting submissions for 
our ninth annual Summer Series. Short film 
submissions should be postmarked by 
MARCH 1st, 2005, feature submissions by 
FEBRUARY 1st, 2005. We accept films of all 
genres and lengths. The festival consists of 
weekly shows from June 10th through 
September 9th in parks, along piers, in his- 
torical locations or on rooftops in New York 
City. Curators encouraged to submit entire 
programs of films. For information, please 
visit www.rooftopfilms.com or email 
Dan Nuxoll, programming director, at sub- 
mit@rooftopflims.com 

TIMEBASE, a new moving image series in 
Kansas City, seeks innovative short films, 
videos, installations & web-based projects. 
No entry fee. Rolling deadline. Send VHS, 
DVD, or CD-Rom: Timebase, 5100 Rockhill 
Rd Haag 202, Kansas City MO 64110. Tel: 
(816) 235-1708; www.time-base.org 

GALLERIES I EXHIBITIONS 



EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY HISTORIC 
SITE in PA seeks artists for exhibition at the 
site. Some funding avail, for media arts. 
Proposals are reviewed annually each fall. 
See website for information and deadline. To 
request an application, or schedule an onenta- 
tion tour, contact Brett Bertolino at (215) 236- 
5111 ex. 12, or at bb@EasternState.org, or 
visit wvwv.east ernstate.org. 

RUNNING FREE, a touring collaborative video 
installation presented by Montreal's View 72, 
seeks shorts (5 min. or fewer) of a 
single person running continuously. Format 
must be mini-DV, but send VHS for 
preview. lmmaculate_conception@view 
72.com; wvvw.view72.com. 

TRUE STORIES is a monthly sneak preview for 
new documentaries. Any length accepted, 
VHS or DVD format. No deadline, tapes held 
on a rolling basis until entire series is pro- 
grammed. For more info contact Sean 
Frechette, Film Arts Foundation, 145 9th St. 
Ste. 101, San Francisco, CA94103; (415) 552- 
8760 x324; www.filmarts.org/exhibition 
/truestoneshtml. 



72 The Independent I Januan//February 2005 



UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY at Central Michigan 
University reviews proposals year-round. All 
media considered, incl. 2-D, 3-D, perform- 
ance, video & computer art. Artists interested 
in exhibition at the University Art Gallery 
should send 20 slides, video or disc, resume, 
artist statement & S.A.S.E to: Central 
Michigan University Art Gallen/, Art Dept. 
Wightman 132, Mt. Pleasant, Ml 48859. 

TOURING PROGRAMS 

FREE FORM FILM FESTIVAL is a year-round 
touring event created by Loaf-i.com and 
Inner Mission Productions is now taking sub- 
missions. Seeking films/videos of all formats 
and genres (but please submit on NTSC VHS 
for initial consideration). The FFFF brings an 
eclectic collection of innovative films to cities 
and towns across the United States. Enter 
now to be considered for our West Coast 
tour in September. Enter anytime for other 
tours/exhibitions. The FFFF is non-competi- 
tive, but offers opportunity for screenings all 
over the U.S. Entry fee is $15 for residents 
of the U.S. and Canada. There is no entry fee 
for residents of other countries. See 
freeformfilm.org for details and entry forms 

THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION 
MEDIA ARTS CENTER seeks entries for the 
2005-2006 Southern Circuit. The film series 
provides the opportunity for filmmakers to 
travel throughout the Southeast with their 
works and screen them to new audiences. 
Each filmmaker presents individual shows 
between 45 minutes to 1 hour screening 
time, followed by a half-hour discussion. In 
return for the tour, each filmmaker receives 
air travel within the United States to and 
from his/her home city, a per diem to cover 
food and lodging during the tour, and an hon- 
orarium for each screening. Please submit a 
completed application and a copy of your 
work on VHS or DVD (of approximately 1 
hour in length — you may cue to a 30 minute 
section for judging purposes. You may sub- 
mit a single work or a collection of short 
works), $20 application fee, and pnnted pro- 
motional materials and resume. Application 
deadline is January 31, 2005. For more info 
visit http://southcarloinaarts.com/circuit or 
email Susan Leonard at sleonard 
©arts.nstate.sc.us 



BROADCASTS I CABLECASTS 

DUTV: A progressive, nonprofit educational 
channel in Philadelphia seeks works by 
indie producers. All genres & lengths con- 
sidered. Will return tapes. BetaSR DV, dvd 
accepted for possible cablecast. Contact: 
Debbie Rudman, DUTV, 3141 Chestnut St., 
BIdg 9B, Rm 0016,Philadelphia, PA 19104; 
(215) 895-2927; dutv@drexel.edu; 

www.dutv.org. 

IMAGEMAKERS is a half hour program airing 
in San Francisco (PBS) that features the best 
short films from around the world. Prefer 
shorts between 2 mm and 25 mm. No exper- 
imental or docs. Prefer shorts shot on 35mm, 
24p or in letterbox. Submit on vhs. Send to: 
Scott Dwyer,KQED-TV, 2601 Mariposa 
Street, San Francisco, CA 941 1 . Visit web site 
at www.kqed.org/imagemakers. 

THE SHORT LIST is a weekly, half-hour inter- 
national short film series on PBS and cable 
now licensing for 13th season. Considers 
shorts 30 sees, to 19 mins. Send DVD 
screener with application form downloaded 
from www.theshortlist.ee or email short 
list@mail.sdsu.edu. 

VIDEO/FILM SHORTS wanted for cutting- 
edge television station from Nantucket 
Island, Mass. Must be suitable for TV broad- 
cast. Directors interviewed, tape returned 
w/ audience feedback. Accepting VHS/S- 
VHS, 15 mm. max. S.A.S.E. to Box 1042, 
Nantucket, MA 02554; (508) 325-7935. 

ZOOM: ZOOM is a kids-only series on PBS, 
featuring kids plays, films, games & more. 
ZOOM IS seeking films, animation & videos 
made by kids (some adult supervision okay). 
Every kid who sends something will receive 
a free newsletter filled w/ fun activities & 
may see their film on TV. Length: up to 3 
mm. Format: 3/4", VHS, Hi8, super 8, 
16mm, Beta, digital formats. Age: 5-14. 
Subjects should be age appropriate. 
Contact: Marcy Gunther, WGBH/ZOOM, 
125 Western Ave., Boston, MA 02134; 
marcy_gunther@wgbh.org. 



WEBCASTS 

ALWAYS INDEPENDENT FILMS shows inde 
pendent feature films, short films, docs & ani- 
mation. In addition, AIF features original 
made-for-lntemet content as well as on line 
film festivals, wvwv.alwaysif.com. 

ATOM FILMS seeks quality films & animations 
for worldwide commercial distribution to our 
network of television, airline, home entertain- 
ment & new media outlets, including the 
award-winning AtomFilms website. 
Submissions must be 30 min. or fewer. For 
more info & a submission form, visit 
www.atomshockwave.com. 

D.FILM Digital Film Festival is a traveling & 
online showcase of shorts made w/ comput- 
ers & other new & radical technologies. 
D.FILM was official digital film program at 
1999 Cannes Film Festival. Look for it in your 
city & visit web site to make your own movie 
online w/ the Movie Maker Game 
[www.dfilm.coml. 

FILMFILM.COM: the internet's complete 
movie studio Iwww.filmfilm.eom) seeks sub- 
missions on on-going basis for its Internet 
24/7 screening room. Are you ready for a 
worldwide audience? Seeking shorts & fea- 
tures of all genres. Contact: 
info@filmfilm.com. 

THE NARCOLEPTIC VIDEOGRAPHER is a short- 
film producing comedy collective made up of 
actors, writers, filmmakers and musicians. 
With a signature blend of guerrilla-film aes- 
thetic, visceral cutting and entirely impro- 
vised dialogue. The NV seeks humour in 
character details and situational absurdity 
rather than with set-up punch lines. 
http://narco.ca. 

NETBR0ADCASTER.COM seeks films & 
videos for streaming. Seeking all genres & for- 
mats from drama, horror, comedy, animation, 
docs, experimental, music videos, as well as 
reality-based videos. We want it all! 
Netbroadcaster.com launched last fall. Site 
hosted by Alchemy Communications, one of 
largest ISPs on the net: films@alchemy.net. 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 73 



NOTICES 



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COMPETITIONS 

ALWAYS INDEPENDENT FILMS shows inde- 
pendent feature films, short films, docs & 
animation. In addition, AIF features original 
made-for-lnternet content as well as on line 
film festivals, www.alwaysif.com. 

APPLAUSE SCREENWRITING COMPETITION 
calling for original works of an author or 
authors and not previously optioned, pur- 
chased, or produced. Adaptations (no docu- 
mentaries) are welcome provided the author 
assumes sole legal responsibility for obtain- 
ing copynghts to the adapted work. Prizes: 
Script submission to agents, managers, pro- 
ducers, lunch with Hollywood execs, expo- 
sure and promotion packages, coverage, 
script critiques, software, magazines, and 
other great product prizes. For more infor- 
mation visit www.applause4you.com. 

DRAMA GARAGE seeks completed and origi- 
nal feature-length screenplays that do not 



exceed 120 pages and have limited camera 
angles. If chosen, you'll receive a fully pro- 
duced, staged reading of your screenplay in 
Hollywood, referrals, contacts, and much 
more. Please visit www.dramagarage/sub 
missions.htm, call 323-933-5700 or email 
inf0@dram3garage.com. 

ITVS FUNDS, distributes and promotes new 
programs primarily for public television. We 
work with independent producers to create 
and present programs that take creative 
risks, advance issues and represent points of 
view not usually seen on public or commer- 
cial television. ITVS is committed to pro- 
gramming that addresses the needs of 
underserved and underrepresented audi- 
ences. We look for programs that bring new 
audiences to public television and that 
expand civic participation by bringing diverse 
voices into the public sphere. For more infor- 
mation on receiving funding, visit their web- 
site: www.itvs.org. 



SHORT FILM SLAM, NYC's only weekly short 

film competition, is looking for submissions. 
Competition on Sundays at 2 p m. At the end 
of each show the audience votes for a win- 
ning film, which receives further screenings 
at the Pioneer Theater. To enter, you must 
have a film, 30 min. or less, in a 35mm, 
16mm, BetaSP VHS, or DVD format. To sub- 
mit your film, stop by the Pioneer Theater 
(155 E. 3rd St.) during operating hours, call 
(212) 254-7107, or visit www.two 
boots.com/pioneer for more information. 

CONFERENCES I WORKSHOPS 

THE AMERICAN SCREENWRITERS ASSOCIA- 
TION has partnered with Gotham Writers' 
Workshop, New York's leading creative writ- 
ing school, and Final Draft, the world's lead- 
ing screenwriting software, to bring profes- 
sional screenwriting workshops to members 
over the Internet. Now you can hone your 
skills with an expert instructor from any loca- 
tion that has web access. Please refer to 



74 The Independent I January/February 2005 



www.writingclasses.com for a complete list- 
ing of available courses. 

THE CREATIVITY WORKSHOP s offering a 
four day intensive in New York March 11-14, 
2005. Tuition is $600, Please visit www.cre- 
ativitycourses05.com or call toll-free 1-866- 
217-1980 for more information. 

DI2004 CONFERENCE, January SO-February 1 , 
2004 at the San Francisco Marnott Hotel. This 
conference will bring together indie innova- 
tors in film, TV, music, games, policy and the 
arts unite to tackle the impact of digital pro- 
duction and distribution on independent con- 
tent makers. Open to the public, registration 
required and press passes are available upon 
request; for a full description of sessions, pan- 
elists and moderators, visit the website at 
www.digi talindies.com. 

8TH INT'L FILM FINANCING CONFERENCE 
ANNOUNCES ANNUAL OPEN DAY: Jan 12, 

San Francisco, a full day of panels & network- 
ing opportunities w/ key int'l film financiers & 
buyers. The only day of IFFCON w/ registra- 
tion open to the public. Topics include: "Pitch 
Perfect, How to Sell your Idea" & "Funding 
the Future: The Digital Wave." Registration 
fee: $150. Info & registration: (415) 281-9777. 
www.iffcon.com. 

GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT & MEDIA SUMMIT 
2005: New York City: May 14-15. A lively and 
engaging forum of people with vision from 
the independent and mainstream music, 
film, video and multimedia worlds of the 
entertainment, media, and communications 
industries. People connect with people, 
exchanging ideas and creating projects in a 
context of innovation, reinvention, and possi- 
bility. Together, this community is proactively 
effecting new ways to achieve sustainable 
careers and the direction of the revolution 
now taking place in marketing and distribu- 
tion. For more information visit www.glob 
alentertainmentnetwork.com. 

THE MEGAHIT MOVIES HOLLYWOOD STORY 
DESIGN WORKSHOP AND SCR(I)PT MAGA- 
ZINE PITCHXCHANGE will be held Saturday, 
Februan/ 19, 2005 in Orlando, Florida. The 
16-hour workshop covers industry guides on 
topics ranging from character and story 



New Year's resolutions 
not quite working out? 



Then try the AIVF Resolution: 




1 . Tell someone about AIVF 

2. Buy a membership for a filmmaker friend 

3. Donate to AIVF 

Please remember us as the year comes 
to a close and think about a tew things 
that you can do for AIVF, 



low would you like to be remembered^ 

SJ5 Friend • $75 Filmmaker • SllX) Prcxlucer ■ 

$250 Exhibitor • $500 Dislril>uloi ■ SUXK) M«li.i Mogul 




You can mail in your donation or visit our website: 

Donnlion M,ina(>er, AlVt, (04 Hudson birecl, blh 1 loor, NY, NY 1001 i 

! -.1.11 .lie. himl 'lit in.ilc-- DON ATI - 1( U\l\ i 



AVF 



^ i=^iM ilM^l;^ 



MovieMaker 



KSSKMIAI. TF.RRIIK F.XCF.I.l.KM 

Script Creative Screenwriting IndieVision 



^ILlMMAJSI?!?^ 



SHOT BY SHOT FROM PAGE TO SCREEN 



With tho most acclaimed 2-clav industry seminar for 
FILMMAKERS & SCREENWRITERS 

LOS ANGELES: February 26 & 27 NEW YORK: March 5 & 6 



CHICAGO: March 12 & 13 
BOSTON: April2& 3 



SAN FRANCISCO: March 19 & 20 
FORT LAUDERDALE: April 9 & 10 



www.actioncut.com (800)815-5545 



Available: Action/Cut 12-Hour Home Filmmaking Course 
Deluxe DVD & VMS Seminar Pro Collections 



January/February 2005 I The Independent 75 



Ti 



"A brilliant fest^ 
exceptional program and a 
very fine group of people 
to hang out with. It was all 
low-key and unpretentious 
which is how it ought to be.' 

Mark Achbar 

co-director. The Corpor 

"It was really a coup of 
sorts and we're curious 
about next year — it coul 
easily be a destination doc 
festival in no tisoe." ^ 

Sarah Pric^ 

cD-direptar. Th? ^" 



Ibly impressed. 
It.s a real achievement - 
and judging by the turn 
out at the films, one which 
the town embraced with 
open arms. Well done...it 
was an honour to be 
associated with the first 
ever True/False festival. " 

Kevin Macdonald 

director. Touching the Void 



The True/False Filnn Festival 

Columbia. Missouri • Feb. 25-27. 2005 

www.truefalse.org 



design to pitching your finished script. The 
registration fee after January 1, 2005 is 
$195: please visit www.TheMegahit 
Movies.com or email contact Richard 
Michaels Stefanik at rms@TheMagahit 
Movies.com. 

VISUAL STUDIES WORKSHOP MEDIA CENTER 

in Rochester, NY, accepts proposals on an 
ongoing basis for its Upstate Media Regrant 
Program, NO-TV fest (for film and video 
artists), SMARTFEST (Student film/video festi- 
val), and residencies for Artists. The Media 
Center provides equipment and services in its 
access program, including low cost 16mm 
film to video (most formats) transfers. For 
more information call Rich Delia Costa at (585) 
442-8676. 

RESOURCES I FUNDS 

ANTHONY RADZIWILL DOCUMENTARY FUND, 

administered by IFP/New York, provides 
seed/development grants for independently 
produced documentary features by U.S. res- 
ident filmmakers. Six to ten grants up to 
$10,000 are given annually over two grant 
cycles. Next deadline is March 1, 2005 for 
grants to be awarded in June. On-line appli- 
cations, submission requirements, and com- 
plete guidelines for proposals are available at 
www.ifp.org/docfund. Hard copies of guide- 
lines may be obtained by sending a SASE to 
Anthony Radziwill Documentary Fund, 
IFP/New York, 104 West 29th Street, New 
York, NY 10001. For further questions write 
docfund@ifp.org or call 212-465-8200, ext 
830. 

THE FLEISHHACKER FOUNDATION offers 
$1,000-810,000 biannually to support works 
by San Francisco Bay artists that are in post- 
production in film, video and media arts proj- 
ects. Priority will be given to new works and 
projects with a good chance of being com- 
pleted. Students are ineligible. The annual 
operating budget must be between 
$100,000- $750,000 annually. Deadline is 
July 15th and Januan/ 15th. For more infor- 
mation, www.fleishhackerfoundation.org. 



makers seeking fiscal sponsors. For more info, 
call (212) 246-0202, or email roc@global 
vision.org; www.globalvision.org. 

GRAND MARNIER FILM FELLOWSHIPS are 

awarded to graduate film students enrolled in 
an educational institution in the U.S. (excluding 
CA and TX) for work in filmmaking, video, or 
critical writing. Three awards of $5,000 each 
will be given to students who excel in either film, 
video or critical studies. Award to be presented 
at the New York Film Festival. Forms online 
(www.filmlinc.org) or contact: Grand Marnier 
Film Fellowships, Film Society of Lincoln Center, 
1 65 W. 65th St., 4th., N.Y., NY 1 0023-6595. 

JAPAN FOUNDATION provides film production 
support to experienced independents or corpora- 
tions for production of films, TV programs, or 
other a/v materials that further understanding of 
Japan and Japanese culture abroad. Contact: 
Japan Foundation, 1 52 W. 57th St, 39th PL, New 
York, NY 10019; tel: 212.489.0299. 

KQED-TV IN SAN FRANCISCO provides in-kind 
postproduction assistance to a number of 
independent projects each year. Subject 
must be compelling & of interest to KQED's 
viewers, or attract new audiences. Material 
must pass technical evaluation for broadcast 
quality. Producer must supply rough cut for 
review. KQED also takes on a number of co- 
productions each year. For more info, call 
(415) 553-2859. 

NEWENGLANDFILM.COM: is a unique online 
resource that provides local film & video profes- 
sionals w/ searchable industry directory, listings 
of local events, screenings, jobs, calls for entries 
& upcoming productions, in addition to filmmaker 
interviews & industry news. Reaching over 
20,000 visitors each month. All articles & listings 
on sites free to read: www.nefilm.com. 

ROY W. DEAN NYC $50,000.00 film grant is 
now taking applications. The Dean 
Writing/Researching grant that takes you to 
New Zealand is closing 2/28/05. Please see 
the web site for full information: 
www.fromtheheartproductions.com. 



GLOBAL CENTER, a nonprofit, IRS-certified THE SEVENTH GENERATION FUND provides 
501(c)(3) educationcal foundation, seeks film- technical assistance in the form of work- 



76 The Independent I Januan//Februap/ 2005 



shops, conferences, training, and grant fund- 
ing for projects. Small grants range from 
$600 to $10,000 per year in assistance to 
seed emerging organizations, to help cover 
the general operation costs of an existing 
organization or specific project, or to cover 
related expenses that help a project accom- 
plish Its work and fulfill its mission in the 
community. Training & Technical Assistance 
Financial support of $600 to $5,000 per year 
to facilitate project-specific training, pay for 
experts/special consultants, and /pr provide 
for other capacity building needs. (Training 
and Technical Assistance grants are also 
available for projects to acquire new skills 
through regional workshops, national 
forums, and special conferences); and mini- 
grants are offered from $50 to $500. For 
more information, visit www.7genfund.org 
Deadline is: December 1, 2004 March 1, 
June 1, September 1, 2005. 

SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY FUND, formerly 
the Soros Documentary Fund, supports int'l doc 
films & videos on current & significant issues in 
human rights, freedom of expression, social jus- 
tice & civil liberties. Development funds for 
research & preproduction awarded up to 
$1 5,000; works-in-progress funds for production 
or postproduction up to $50,000 (average award 
IS $25,000). www.sundance.org. 

THE CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE MEDIA AND 
CULTURE offers grants to independent filmmak- 
ers in post production. Filmmakers who make 
films that focus on issues in the economy, class, 
the poor, women, war and peace, race and labor. 
Grants from $100-$ 10,000 are distributed four 
times a year. Phone (212) 977-2096. 

THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCAST- 
ING has allocated up to $2 million dollars this 
year to create the New Voices, New Media Fund. 
Objectives of this fund are to harness new media 
by supporting creation of mission-driven, diverse 
new media content & providing opportunities for 
diverse content creators working in public broad- 
casting to develop the skills that new media 
demand. Project applications are accepted 
throughout the year. For more information, visit: 
www,cpb.org/tv/funding. 



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Entry Form - Fees - Formats ; 
^ www.actioncutrCOiTi 



Support 

the organization that 
supports you. 

Since 1973, the Association of Independent Video 

and Filmmakers has worked tirelessly to support 
independent vision. Our achievements have preserved 
opportunities for producers working outside the mainstream. 
For just $70/yr. add your voice to ours, and let's see what 
we can do together. 

visit us at www.aivf.org 

or ca// 212/ 807-1400 

TOTAllY IHDfPfHDfHT 



Januan/ZFebruary 2005 I The Independent 77 



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ALBANY/TROY, NY: 

UPSTATE INDEPENDENTS 

When: First Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Bulmcr Telecommunications Center, 

Hudson Valley Communit)' College, 80 

Vandenburg Ave., Troy, NY 

Contact: Jeff Burns, (518) 366-1538 

aibany(£?'aivforg 

ATLANTA, GA: 

IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Atlanta Contemporar\' Art Center, 

353 Means Street 

Contact: Sonia Vassell, (404) 352-4225 x20 

atlanta@aivf org; www.imagefv.org 

CHARLESTON, SC: 

When: Last I hursdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Charleston County Library 

68 Calhoun Street 

Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841; or 

Peter Wentworth, charleston@aivforg 

CLEVELAND, OH: 

OHIO INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 
Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette 
GiUota, (216)651-7315 
cleveland@aivf.org; www.ohiofilms.com 

COLUMBIA, SC: 

When: Second Sundays 
Where: Art Bar, 1211 Park St. 
Contact: Wade Sellers, (803) 929-0066 
columbia@aivforg 

DALLAS, TX: 

VIDEO ASSOCIATION OF DALLAS 

When: Bi-monthly 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 428-8700 

dallas@aiv£org 



EDISON, NJ: 

Where: Passion River Productions, 
190 Lincoln H\\y. 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 321-071 1 
edison@aivf org; www.passionriver.com 

FORT WAYNE, IN: 

Contact: Erik Mollberg 

(260) 691-3258; forrwayne@aivforg 

HOUSTON, TX: 
SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: 1519 West Main 

Contact: Mary Lampe, (713) 522-8592 

houston@aivforg 

HUNTSVILLE, AL: 

Contact: Charles White, (256) 895-0423 
huntsville@aivf.org 

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL: 

Contact: Paul Godby, (205) 956-3522 
jefl"ersoncount\'@aivforg 

LINCOLN, NE: 

NEBRASKA INDEPENDENT FILM PROJECT 

When: Second Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. 

Where: Telepro, 1 844 N Street 

Contact: Jared Minary, lincoln@aivf org, 

(402) 467-1077, www.nifp.org 

LOS ANGELES, CA: 

When: Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m. 

Where: EZTV, 1 8th Street arts Center, 629 

18th St., #6, Santa Monica 

Contact: Michael Masucci 

(310) 829-3389; losangeles@aivf.org 

MILWAUKEE, Wl: 

MILWAUKEE INDEPENDENT FILM SOCIETY 

When: First ^'cdncsdavi, '7 p.m. 



Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 
2821 North 4th, Room 140 
Contact: Laura Gembolis, (414) 688-2375 
milwaukee@aivl.org; www.mifs.org/salo 

NASHVILLE, TN 

Where: See www.naivf.com for events 
Contact: Stephen Lackey, nashville@aivf org 

PORTLAND, OR: 

Where: Hollywood Theatre 

Contact: David Bryant, (503) 244-4225 

portland@aivforg 

ROCHESTER, NY: 

Where: Visual Studies Workshop 

Contact: Liz Lehmann 

(585) 377-1109; rochester@aivf.org 

SAN DIEGO, CA: 

When: Monthly 

Where: Media Arts Center, 921 25th Street 

Contact: Ethan van Thillo (619) 230-1938 

sandiego@aivf.org 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: 

Contact: Kathy Vaguilar 

(510) 482-3484; sanfrancisco@aivforg 

SEATTLE, WA: 

SEAHLE INDIE NETWORK 

When: Bi-monthly 

Where: Wiggly World and 91 1 Media Arts 

Center 

Contact: Andrea Mydlarz, Fiona Otway; 

seattle@aivforg 

TUCSON, AZ: 

Contact: Jana Segal, (520) 906-7295 
tucson@aivf.org 

WASHINGTON, DC: 
Contact: DC Salon hotline, 
(202) 661-7145, washingtondc@aivforg 



78 The Independent I January/February 2005 



THANK YOU 



The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers 
(AIVF) provides a wide range of programs and services 
for independent moving image makers and the media 
community, including The Independent and a senes of 
resource publications, seminars and workshops, infor- 
mation services, and arts and media policy advocacy. 

None of this work would be possible without the 
generous support of the AIVF membership and the 
following organizations: 

We also wish to thank the following individuals and 
organizational members: 



^ 



CO 

NYSCA 



Adobe Systems, Inc. 

City of New York Dept. of Cultural Affairs 

Discovery Wines 

Experimental Television Center Ltd. 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

Home Box Office 

The Jewish Communal Fund 

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 

NAMAC 

The Nathan Cummings Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

New York State Council on the Arts 

The Norman and Rosita Winston Foundation 

Panasonic USA 

Public Media, Inc. 

Yuengling Beer 



BUSINESS/INDUSTRY MEMBERS: AL: Cypress Moon Productions; 
AZ: Ascension Pictures; CA: Action/Cut Directed By Seminars; 
Arrowire LLC; Groovy Like a Movie; llluminaire Entertainment, 
Jungle Software; Media Del'Arte; San Diego Asian Film 
Foundation; SJPL Films, Ltd.; CO: Pay Reel; CT: Anvil Production; 
DC: 48 Hour Film Project; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; FL: 
Academy Leader Inc; Key West Films Society; New Screen 
Broacasting; IL: Shattering Paradigms Entertainment, LLC; MA: 
Exit One Productions; Glidecam Industries; Monkey Ray 
Productions, LLC; MD: Brownpenny Films; NewsGroup, Inc.; Ml: 
Michael Kuentz Communications; NH: Kinetic Films; NJ: Chica 
Luna Productions/Chica Sol Films; NY: 25th Asbury Shorts of New 
York; American Montage; Baraka Productions; C-Hundred Film 
Corporation; Code 16/Radical Avid; Cypress Films; D. R. Reiff and 
Associates; DeKart Video; Docurama; Forest Creatures 
Entertainment; Gigantic Brand; Greenhouse Pictures LLC; 
Greenwich Street Productions; Harmonic Ranch; Lantern 
Productions; Lam/ Engel Productions Inc.; Lightworks Producing 
Group; Mad Mad Judy; Mercer Media; Missing Pixel; Off Ramp 
Films, Inc.; On the Prowl Productions; The Outpost; OVO; Robin 
Frank Management; Triune Pictures; OR: Art Institute of Portland: 
PA: Skanfo Inc.; Rl: The Revival House; WA: Sound Wise; 
Singapore: Crimson Forest Films 

NONPROFIT MEMBERS: AR: Henderson State University; 
AZ: Pan Left Productions; CA: California Newsreel; East Bay 
Media Center; Even/day Gandhis Project; Film Arts Foundation; 
International Buddhist Film Festival; NAATA/Media Fund; New 
Images Productions; Sundance Institute; USC School of Cinema 
and TV; CO: Denver Center Media; CT: Film Fest New Haven; 
Hartley Film Foundation; DC: American University School of 
Communication; Gaea Foundation; FL: Miami International Film 
Festival; University of Tampa; GA: Image Film and Video Center; 
HI: Pacific Islanders in Communications; IL: Art Institute of 
Chicago (Video Data Bank); Community Television Network 
Department of Communication/NLU; Kartemquin Films; IN 
University of Notre Dame; KS: Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee 
KY: Appalshop; Paducah Film Society; MA: CCTV; Documentan/ 
Educational Resources; Harvard University, OsCLibran/; LTC; MD: 
7 Oils Production; Laurel Cable Network; Silverdocs: AFI 
Discovery Channel Doc Festival; ME: Maine Photographic 
Workshop; Ml: Ann Arbor Film Festival; MN: IFP/MSP; Walker Art 
Center; MO: DHTV; Webster University Film Series; MS: 
Magnolia Independent Film Festival; NC: Duke University, Film & 
Video Dept.; University of North Carolina, Dept. of Broadcast and 
Cinema; UNC, Wilmington; Cucalorus Film Foundation; NE: 
Nebraska Independent Film Project/AIVF Salon Lincoln; Ross Film 
Theater, UN-Lincoln; NJ: Black Mana Film Festival; Capriole 



Productions; College of New Jersey, Department of 
Communication Studies; Freedom Film Society, Inc.; Princeton 
University, Program in Visual Arts; NM: Girls Film School; 
University of New Mexico; NY: American Museum of Natural 
History; Arts Engine; Cornell Cinema; Council for Positive Images, 
Inc.; Creative Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster Arts; 
Department of Media Study SUNY Buffalo; Dutchess Community 
College; Educational Video Center; Experimental Television 
Center; Film Forum; Film Society of Lincoln Center; Firelight 
Media; Hourglass Group; International Film Seminars; LMC-TV; 
Manhattan Neighborhood Network; Melted.org; National Black 
Programming Consortium;National Musuem of the American 
Indian; National Video Resources; New School University; New 
York Women in Film and Television; Parnassus Works; POV/The 
American Documentan/; RIT School of Film and Animation; School 
of Visual Arts, Film Department; Squeaky Wheel; Standby 
Program; Stonestreet Studios Film and TV Acting Workshop; 
Stony Brook Film Festival; Syracuse University; United 
Community Centers; Upstate Films, Ltd.; WaxFacton/; Witness; 
Women Make Movies; OH: Athens Center for Film And Video; 
Independent Pictures/AIVF Ohio Salon; Media Bridges Cincinatti; 
School of Film, Ohio University; Wexner Center; OR: Media Arts, 
MHCC; Northwest Film Center; The Oregon Film and Video 
Foundation; PA: American Poetry Center; Philadelphia 
Independent Film & Video Assoc. (PIFVA); Pittsburgh Filmmakers; 
Scribe Video Center; Rl: Flickers Arts Collaborative; SC: South 
Carolina Arts Commission; TN: Indie Memphis Film Festival; TX 
Austin Film Society; Southwest Alternate Media Project; UT 
Sundance Institute; WA: Seattle Central Community College 
Thurston Community Television; Canada: The Banff Center 
Library; RIDM; France: The Carmago Foundation 

FRIENDS OF AIVF: Angela Alston, Sabina Maja Angel, Tom 
Basham, Aldo Bello, David Bemis, Doug Block, Liz Canner, Hugo 
Cassirer, Williams Cole, Anne del Castillo, Arthur Dong, Martin 
Edelstein, Esq., Aaron Edison, Paul Espinosa, Karen Freedman, 
Lucy Garrity, Norman Gendelman, Debra Granik, Catherine Gund, 
Peter Gunthel, David Haas, Kyle Henry, Lou Hernandez, Lisa 
Jackson, John Kavanaugh, Stan Konowitz, Leonard Kurz, Lyda 
Kuth, Steven Lawrence, Bart Lawson, Regge Life, Juan 
Mandelbaum, Diane Markrow, Tracy Mazza, Leonard McClure, 
Daphne McDuffie-Tucker, Jim McKay, Michele Meek, Robert 
Millis, Robert Millis, Richard Numeroff, Elizabeth Peters, Laura 
Poitras, Robert Richter, Hiroto Saito, Larry Sapadin, James 
Schamus, John Schmidt, Nat Segaloff, Robert Seigel, Gail Silva, 
Innes Smolensky, Barbara Sostanc, Alexander Spencer, Miriam 
Stern, George Stoney, Rhonda Leigh Tanzman, Rahdi Taylor, Karl 
Trappe, Jane Wagner, Bart Weiss 



Januan//Februan/ 2005 I The Independent 79 



THE LIST 

NOTHING SHORT OF 
IMPRESSIVE 

By Lindsay Gelfand 

Over a century after the Lumiere brothers' Workers Leaving the Factory, short film has evolved into a 

calling card of sorts for student and feature filmmakers. But this stepping stone proves deceptively 

challenging — given the limitations of length, and in many cases, budget. 

So, assuming that if they hadn't made one, they had at least seen a few, 

we asked some of our favorite filmmakers: what makes the quintessential short film? 



'Trom someone who made a slough of indulgent, 
masturbator); high concept art films before doing anything 
remotely digestible, Id say a good short film is one that forces its 
audience to give a shit about what's happening because they are 
invested in the characters." 

— Christopher J. Forrest, writer/director, From A to You 

"A friend ot mine who's a development person at an indie 
company once told me at a shorts screening at Sundance, 'The 
shorter the short, the better — new directors have less time to mess 
the mo\ie/stor}' up.' I thought this was pretr\- funn\' and relevant 
considering how many bad short films are out there! " 

— Gala Magrina, writer/director. The Anti Film 

"The shorter the film the less suffering. This means, the suf- 
fering and the budget are directly proportional to the length and 
inversely proportional to what the spectator can stand sitting in 
his stall. This is why there are short long films that seem short and 
long short films that become eternal, .^nd one aspect, probably 
ever\'one agrees with, is that a good short film always tells a good 
story: small or big, sad or happy, universal or singular; but for 
heaven's sake, that entertains. 

— Imanol Ortiz Lopez, writer/director. Night Express 

"Grab 'em hard, tell a good stor)' with great characters, then, 
end it." 

— Terri Edda Miller, writer/director/producer, Dysenchanted 

"Just because you shot for 20 minutes does not mean you edit 
for 20 minutes. I was told by the Independent Film Channel that 
they would pay no more than S500 for a short film. So keep in 
mind: shorts are truly a labor of love." 

— Tom Wilson, Nobody Productions 



"A short film is like a poem. There are no rules other than the 
need to have an intimate dialogue with your reader/viewer, 
whereby they are able to absorb the story and find their own con- 
nections to it. Ultimately, both features and shorts at their best 
fianction as canvasses for personal interpretations, little visual 
trips that lead the viewer into the nooks and crannies of their own 
souls." 

— Anita Doron, director. Not a Fish Story 3nA 

Elliot Smelliot 

"Sophisticated, concise stor\T:elling of a simple, great, original 
idea that has a beginning, middle and ver\' satisfying, unpre- 
dictable ending. Zero fat. Not a single wasted shot. And when it's 
over, I'm so excited that I think, 'Short films are so great, I've got 
to make another one. " 

— Kurt Kuenne, writer/director/composer, 

Rent-A-Person 

"The 'quintessential' short film demonstrates, through 
inspired writing and directing, a compelling stor)' that evokes a 
range of emotions b\' making the best use of cinematography, 
sound design, and editing to succinctly tell its stor)'. It takes you 
away in 15 minutes or less and hope-fiilly leaves you thinking for 
longer." 

— Chris J. Russo, director, A Woman Reported 

"The shorter a film is, the more it's forced to jettison even,'- 
thing boring from its structure. The shorter a film is, the more it's 
forced to do strange things. All of life in a super short film is 
boiled down to one extremely good idea. A good short film hap- 
pens when modesrv' meets ingenuit)'. It happens when a film- 
maker has one incredible idea — no more, no less — and manages 
to strike that idea right between the e)'es. " 

— ^Jenn Kao, director. The Plug 



80 The Independent I January/February 2005 



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motion graphics to sound design, NYU is a thriving center of innovation - and a prime source of 
talent for the industn*'. Become a part of it. Contact us for our new Spring Bulletin. 

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Volume 28 Number 2 

Cover: America Ferrera who scars in How The Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer signs the 
Volkswagen Jetta ar 2005 Sundance Film Festival (Soren McCarty/Wirelmage.cora) 



Upfront 



Features 



5 EDITOR'S LETTER 

6 CONTRIBUTORS 

8 NEWS 

Documenting women with AIDS; actor David 
Carradine's awesome career; Global Film helps 
fund films from developing countries 
By Leah Hochbaum 

12 Q/A 

Sharon Lockhart talks about conceptual films — 
her own and her favorites 
By Fiona Ng 

15 FIRST PERSON 

How a former medical missionary became the 

"godmother" of the St. Louis film community 

By Roberta "Bobbie" Lautenschlager 

18 FESTIVAL CIRCUIT 

The women of Sundance 2005 help redefine 
"chick flick" 

By Kate Bernstein 

22 PRODUCTION JOURNAL 

Sync or Swim: a captivating doc about the 
Olympic synchronized swim team 
By Cheryl Furjanic 

27 PROFILE 

Aimee Mann's influence on indie soundtracks 
By Dianne Spoto Shattuck 

30 PROFILE 

Ruth Leitman captures the first ladies of wrestling 
By Lisa Selin Davis 



34 ASK THE DOC DOCTOR 

The role of the inquisitive female filmmaker; 
women directors asserting authority on a set 
By Fernanda Rossi 



36 WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A 
BREAKOUT 

The rise of four ver\' different indie stars 
By David Aim 

40 CAREER COLLISION 

Filmmaker Catherine Gund's multifaceted agenda 
By Elizabeth Angell 

44 WOMAN, THOU ART LOOSED 

Kimberly Elise stars in what might be the first 
gospel film 

By Amy Alexander 

48 THE MILLER'S DAUGHTER 

Rebecca Miller lives out (and films) her dreams 
By Rick Harrison 



52 ON THE SCENE 

Scenarios USA: The real deal 
Bv Lindsav Geltand 



Listings 

54 CLASSIFIEDS 
57 FESTIVALS 
64 WORK WANTED 
66 NOTICES 

70 SALONS 

71 THANKS 

72 THE LIST 



www.aivf.org 



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independent 

Publisher: Bienvenida Matias 

||jublisher@aivf org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Rebecca Carroll 

(editorgaivf org] 

Managing Editor Shana Liebman 

lindeDendeni'Saivf org] 

Assistant Editor: Rick Harrison 

ifacfS'aivf org] 

Designer: R. Benjamin Brown 

!benbfovvngrapnic@msn comj 

Production Associate: Timothy Schmidt 

|gtaphics@aivf org] 

Editorial Associate: Lindsay Gelfand 

|notices@aivf org) 

Contributing Editors: 

Sherman Alexie, Pat Aufderheide, Monique Cormier, 
Bo Mehrad. Cara Mertes, Kate Tuttle 

Contributing Writers: 

Elizabeth Angell, Margaret Coble, Lisa Selin Davis, 

Matt Dunne, Greg Gilpatrick, Gadi Harel, 

Rick Harrison, John Pavlus 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 

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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

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The Independent Film & Video Monthly (ISSN 1077-89181 
: : ; - : 'ed issues January/February 

6r,G ^^■i^^^^.^y., ^, ; .c r:,^. uot.on for Independent Video 
and Film (FIVF). a 501(cl(3) dedicated to the advancement of 
media arts and artists Subscnpiion to the magazine is included 
in annual membership dues IS55/yr individual; $35/yr student; 
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the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), 
the national professional association of individuals involved in 
moving image media. Library subscriptions are S75/yr. Contact: 
AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6 fl.. New York, NY 10013. 12121 807- 
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Publication of any ad in TTie Independent does not constitute an 
endorsement AIVF/FIVF are n;- •-;::-; : e for any claims made in 
an 3d. All contents are copyngr,: .;: ::.i ."cundation for Independent 
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edgement of the article's previous appearance in The Independent 
The Independent is indexed in the Alternative Press Index and is a 
member of the Independent Press Association. 

AIVF/FIVF staff: Bienvenida Matias, executive director; 
Sonia Malfa, program director: Priscilla Grim, membership director; 
Bo Mehrad, information services director; Greg Gilpatrick, 
technology consultant, Emily Banks, Gerry Edouard, Jeffrey Scheible, 
Miriam Wallen, interns; AIVF/FIVF leoal counsel: Robert I. Freedman, 
Esq., Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard. 

AIVF Board of Directors: Joel Bachar, Liz Canner, Anne del Castillo, 
Doug Hawes-Davis, Regge Life, Bienvenida Matias (ex ohciol, 
Michele Meek, Simon Tan, Rahdi Taylor, Jim Vincent, Bart W/eiss 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2004 
Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 



4 The Iridependent I Marchi 2005 




o 



09 



EDITOR'S LETTER 

Dear Readers: 

Sisters are doing it for themselves. She 
works hard for the money. Meeting in the 
ladies room (for all y'all old schoolers — 
remember the fierce, ebony-skinned 
women oi the 80s group Klimaxx?). A 
room of her own. Women on the verge of 
a nervous breakdown. The 24-hour 
woman. Girl, you're a woman now. 

Hey, I like empowerment as much as 
the next gal. And I love having the titles of 
books and films and songs named after 
us — and all our inherent complexities, to 
say nothing of our extraordinarily beguil- 
ing mystique. But what I really love most 
is being and living that good stuft — and 
highlighting the same in others. Not 
because we women need attention or 
praise to keep us in the game, but because 
there's so much good stuff to go around 
and to celebrate. 

With that in mind, here we are again 
with our annual Women in Film issue. 
Two shorter profiles feature indie rocker 
and soundtrack songstress Aimee Mann 
(page 27) and documentary filmmaker 
Ruth Leitman, whose Lipstick and 
Dynamite has its theatrical release this 
month (page 30). A longer profile looks at 
the somewhat enigmatic and elusive, 
though most certainly talented Rebecca 
Miller, who says that had she known 
before embarking on a film career how- 
much work was actually involved with get- 
ting a film financed and made, she "prob- 
ably would have just gone to bed and for- 
gotten about it. " Miller's latest film. The 
Ballad of Jack and Rose, premiered at 
Sundance in January (page 48). 



Contributing writer Elizabeth AngeU gives 
us a glimpse inside the vibrant, multi-task- 
ing world of documentary filmmaker and 
philanthropist Catherine Gund, whose 9- 
year-old Aubin Pictures has released sever- 
al award-winning documentary films, 
including the recent Touch of Greatness 
(page 40). It's always exciting to see new 
film talent emerge — male or female, direc- 
tors or actors — but last year presented 
powerhouse performances from four 
young actresses in particular (page 36). 
And the films weren't bad either. Brother to 
Brothers Aunjanue Ellis, Down to the 
Bones Vera Farmiga, Everyday Peoples 
Bridget Barkan, and the Academy Award- 
nominated (perhaps winning by the time 
this issue hits the stands) Catalina Sandino 
Moreno hom Maria Full of Grace — all 
gave gorgeous, nuanced performances and 
delivered characters you might feel an\' 
number of things about, but that you will 
definitely remember. 

While for the most part I feel ambiva- 
lent about the (mis)labeling of film genres 
(and by that I mean calling a film some- 
thing that it isn't, or imposing a nomen- 
clature upon a select handful of films that 
appear similar in theme), I must admit to 
being curious about the notion of "gospel 
cinema" — not least of all because its been 
compared to the theater worlds chitlin' 
circuit. Africana.com media columnist 
Amy Alexander talked to independent 
producer Reuben Cannon, who offered 
up the first installment of gospel cinema 
last fall with Woman, Thou Art Loosed 
based on the self-help books by Bishop 
T.D. Jakes and starring the lovely 
Kimberly Elise. The second of what 
Cannon claims will be many films in the 
catalog of gospel cinema, Diaiy of a Aiad 
Black Woman, was released by Lions Gate 
in February. 

All that, plus the women of Sundance, 
the godmother of St. Louis's independent 
film community, and one doc director's 
journey to capture the women's world of 
synchronized swimming. 

Enjoy, and thanks for reading 
The Independent, 
Rebecca Carroll 




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March 2005 I The Independent 5 



Three Films from 
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On the Edge 

Bruce Dern stors as a 
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sets out to recapture his lost 
glory ond train For one of 
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in America. 



"...beautiful, EXCITING, 
imaginative..." 



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Signal 7 

Two middle-aged cobbies 
who dream of making 
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Contributors 



ELIZABETH ANGELL is a freelance 
writer living in New York. She recently 
received an MFA in creative writing from 
Columbia, and is at work on her first book. 

AMY ALEXANDER, media writer for 
Africana.com, is a veteran journalist and 
author. 




DA\TD ALM teaches film histor\- and 
writing at tv,'o colleges in Chicago. His 
writing has appeared in Artbyte, Camerawork, 
RES, Silicon Alley Reporter, SOMA, and The 
Utne Reader. He's also contributed to books 
on web design and digital filmmaking and 
assisted in making documentaries about 
architecture and garbage. 

KATE BERNSTEIN is a producer for 
\T4-1 and has written about film, music, and 
popular culture for a variet}' of magazines. She 
received her BA from Swarthmore College 
and her MA from NYU, both in cinema 
studies. Her short film, Ladies Room, is 
currently touring festivals. Kate was born in 
Moscow, Russia and raised in Brooklyn, 
New York. 




LISA SELIN DAVIS is the author of the 
novel. Belly, forthcoming from Little, Brown 
& Co., and a freelance writer in New York. 




CHERYL FURJANIC is an award- 
winning filmmaker currently teaching docu- 
mentary video production in NYU's 
Department of Anthropolog)'. Her previous 
documentary shorts include Take this 
Hammer, Dimassimo to the Rescue, and A 
Good Uplift. Her short comedy Bar Talk 
screened at over 60 film festivals worldwide 
and was broadcast on the PBS/WNET series 
REEL NEW YORK in the summer of 2003. 
Sync or Swim is her first feature-length 
documentary' 



6 The Independent I March 2005 




LINDSAY GELFAND is an editorial 
associate at The Independent. She recently 
received a BA in film from Northwestern 
University and lives in Brooklyn. 

RICK HARRISON is an assistant editor at 
The Independent. He has a master's degree in 
journalism from NYU and his work has 
appeared in Newsday, The Forward, The Daily 
News, Our Town and The West Side Spirit. His 
more mindless musings can be read at 
www.rollingboncs.blogspot.com. 








LEAH HOCHBAUM has spent an 
extraordinarily large chunk of her life doing 
grunt work for the higher ups at Rolling Stone, 
Jane, and Us Weekly. When she is good, they 
sometimes let her write things. Her work has 
appeared in Time Out New York, The 
Blueprint, and Video Age International 



ROBERTA LAUTENSCHLAGER was 
born and raised in the St. Louis, Missouri area. 
She spent 20 years with her husband provid- 
ing health care in rural West Africa and then 
became a screenwriter and filmmaker after she 
was a orandmother. 



' im^iui 




FIONA NG lives in Brooklyn. She's writ- 
ten for the Los Angeles Times, Black Book, Bust, 
RES, and other publications. 

FERNANDA ROSSI is a filmmaker and 
script/documentary doctor. She afso leads the 
nationwide Documentary Dialogues discus- 
sions offered by AIVF. For more into, visit 
w^\•^v.documentar\'doctor.com 

DIANNE SPOTO SHATTUCK is the 
former editor in chief of Women Who Rock 
magazine. She currently writes for In Tune 
Monthly, Music Alive!, and Sony/BMG Music 
Entertainment. In addition to her music 
journalism experience, Dianne holds both 
bachelor's and master's degrees in music 
performance. Dianne writes, sings lead, and 
plays flute in a jazz-infused electronica group 
called Golden Age. She lives in New York City. 




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March 2005 I The Independent 7 



NEWS 



HIV Goddesses 



Capturing the untold story of women with AIDS 



Bv Leah Hochbaum 



When it comes to the subject of 
AIDS, most of America still 
thinks of Africa or gay men or 
heroin addicts. They don't chink Emmy 
Award-winning heterosexual female jour- 
nalists. In fact, most people don't think of 
heterosexual females at all. And that's what 
director Sharon Sopher, 59, is hoping to 
change with her new autobiographical 
documentary HP/ Goddesses: Stories of 
Courage — Diary of a Filmmaker. 

If and when she can scrape the money 
together, Sopher, who recently filed for 
bankruptc)', hopes to take the doc and an 
accompanying photo exhibit featuring 
pictures of t}'pical Midwestern women 
who are both living with and dying from 
AIDS, on a cross-country trip dubbed the 
"Goddessmobile Road Tour' that will 
likely kick off in New York in late May. 

"There's a dearth of information about 
women infected with AIDS," said Sopher, 
a journalist who worked for NBC for 13 
years, calling from her Madison, 
Wisconsin home in late December. "^Ti\' 
is this?" she asks. "Because no woman has 
had it before me?" 

When she realized she was sick — an 
event documented in the film — she said 
she searched her mind for another woman 
in America who had the disease and was 
terrified to discover that she couldn't think 
of a single one, although, according to the 
Centers for Disease Control, AIDS is a 
top-10 killer of US women ages 20-54. 

The mo\-ie tells the heartbreaking tale 
of how^ after beino misdiagnosed bv 27 




Sharon Sopher, who has AIDS, is making a film 
about women with AIDS (Trust Mashoro) 



docrors o\er a five-year period, Sopher 
diagnosed herself in under two hours 
armed only with a computer mouse and 
the URL for WebMD.com. She was 
appalled to learn that her nausea, loss of 
lean muscle mass, fatigue, and swollen 
lymph glands weren't just a near match for 
AIDS, but the classic symptoms of the dis- 
ease. Yet as a straight female, she had never 
been tested for it. 

Though she was told earh' on by med- 
ical professionals to keep news of her ill- 
ness from even her loved ones, Sopher, 
who'd been nominated for an Oscar for 
her 1986 film Witness to Apartheid knew 
she wouldn't be able to sur\'ive without the 
support of her famiK' and friends. 

"With a chronic illness, you need 
emotional support,' Sopher said. "The 
pills alone are not enough. They are like 
little nuclear bombs," she said, referring to 
their many side effects. 

So Sopher decided it was time to take 
action. 

"I had never before turned the camera 



on myself" she said. "My style was always 
to shoot subjects ver)' tight. They either let 
vou in or thev dont. And if the\' let you in 
that close, you usualK' get something 
extraordinar}'. I felt it was dishonest to ask 
people to tell their own story if I still had- 
n't told mine." 

So with doctors' bills up the wazoo and 
no real certainty that she would live to see 
the project through to its end, she set 
about tr)'ing to get her movie made. She 
applied and was turned down for grant 
after grant until one day, her luck abrupt- 
ly changed. She got a $5,000 grant from 
the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent 
Media, which finances the pre-production 
and distribution of films that deal with 
social issues. Then Marv Turner, an Emmy 
Award-winning cameraman living in 
Madison offered to shoot the film for free. 
Eventually, Wisconsin videographer 
Jeffrey Pohorski volunteered his ser\-ices as 
well. ' 

"It was a little unusual from a camera- 
man's perspective because we had to shoot 



8 The Independent I March 2005 



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without a lot of lighting and to catch life 
as it happened," said Pohorski, founder 
of the Madison-based production com- 
pany Skunk-films. "But here it was about 
getting the raw story on tape. The more 
raw the better. The more real the better. 
Her vulnerability with allowing herself to 
be taped throwing up every morning, it 
impressed me." 



Hip-hop meets the western 

Black people love David Carradine. Or 
so says Jean Claude LaMarre, director of 
Brothas in Anns, which is currently filming 
in California. 

"David has this huge urban fan base," 
says LaMarre, calling from the movie's 
Santa Clarita set. "'Kung Fu' is the story of 
the consummate outsider. Every black kid 




Rapper Karupt (I) and David Carradine (r) in Brothas in Arms (Jean-Claude LaMarre) 



Next up for Sopher — and she seems 
optimistic that there will be something 
next up tor her though she recently 
changed her dailv drug regimen and is 
unsure whether the new treatment will 
work — is the second film in what she 
hopes will one day be an AIDS-themed 
trilogy called The Ultimate Betrayal. It 
will tell the true-life tales of women 
infected with the virus by their cheat- 
ing/drug-using/gay-sex-having hus- 
bands. 

Sopher doesn't know what the future 
holds, but she knows before she dies she 
needs to spread the message that AIDS is 
not just a gay man's disease. Or Africa's. 
Or a junkie's. 

"The greatest untold story is the story 
of women with AIDS in America," she 
said. "And that's the story I have to tell." 



understands walking into an all-white 
town and being on the receiving end of 
that [animosity]." 

So when LaMarre was looking to cast 
the villainous role of Driscoll, a ruthless 
bounty hunter, in his new urban west- 
ern — a term he coined to denote an 
unlikely blending of the western genre and 
the hip-hop world — he looked no further 
than Carradine. "He plays a villain in a 
way that not a lot of actors do — real pas- 
sive, real subtle, " LeMarre says. "He just 
embodies the villain." 

Carradine, who has appeared in 141 
movies according to the Internet Movie 
Database (and "lots more than that" 
according to Carradine himself), agrees. 
"Bad guys, they're juicy," he says, calling 
from the set after just having learned he'd 
been nominated for a Golden Globe 
award for his portrayal of the venomous 



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title character in Quentin Tarantino's 
Kill Bill: Vol 2. Anci his take on Driscoll? 
"I'm gonna make him juicy." 

When it came time to cast the other 
roles in the film, which tells the tale of a 
group o\ Robin Hood-like outlaws who 
band together to rob a bank at the end of 
the Civil War and are thwarted by 
Carradine's bounty- hunter, LaMarre 
chose to round out the cast with a 
whos-who of the hip-hop world. Wvclef 
Jean chews on his first meat)' role, and 
Death Row rapper Kurupt, a relative new- 
comer to the acting scene, whose most 
notable credit thus far has been a featured 
role in the National Lampoon wannabe 
Johnson Family Vacation, stars as the mel- 
low Kansas. 

"I'm the black Doc Holliday," says 
Kurupt from a California studio where 
he's working on his next album, tentative- 
1}' titled Against the Grain, for which he 
records tracks between scenes and hopes to 
have in stores by this summer. "Doc was 
real smooth. He was hip to the times — a 
real ladies man. Jean Claude calls my 
character a real gentleman." 

Though he's appeared in a handful of 
films, Kurupt, whose gi\-en name is 
Ricardo Brown, ne\'er thought hed appear 
in a western, a genre not usually known to 
make use of great numbers 
of minorit)' actors. So when he was offered 
the part, he jumped at the chance — with 
the caveat that he be given a stunt double. 

"I'm the black Burt Reynolds, " he says, 
apparently attempting to be a darker- 
skinned version of a number of random 
American pop culture icons. "1 do all mv 
own stunts. Except for this film. I don't get 
along with horses. Thev tell \'ou to be the 
aggressor, but the horse weighs 18 tons. 
I'm not messing with them horses. " 

Carradine doesn't share his co-stars 
equine-related fears. "I love horses. I lo\'e 
guns," he says simply. 

And with that, here's betting that white 
people around the world are opening their 
hearts to him just a little. 

Battling with buffalos 

In 1998, \\-hen \'ietnamese screen\\Titer 




and director Minh Nguyen-Vo was writ- 
ing the first draft of what would eventual- 
ly become Buffalo Boy, his first feature, he 
had everything he needed to make the 
film. Eventthing, that is, except the cash. 

So when he heard that a New York- 
based organization called the Global Film 
Initiati\'e was giving out production and 
post-production grants to films coming 
out of developing countries, he sent in an 
application immediately. Shortly there- 
after, he learned that not only had he won 
the grant, but the Initiative wanted to 
include Buffalo Boy in its touring film 
series, the Global Lens Tour, which kicked 
off in early Januar\'. 

"We gather a group of exceptional 
films," says executive director Holly 
Carter, at the Initiative's Greenwich 
Milage offices in mid-December. "Films 
that are creative, beautiful, culturally illu- 
minating. And we create a tra\'eling film 
festival to help promote cross-cultural 
understanding." 

This year's second annual festival fea- 
tures 1 movies from countries like Bosnia 
and Herzegovina, Algeria, Argentina, 
Mali, China, and Uruguay. Five of the 
films received grants from the Initiative 
and man\' sav the\' might never ha\'e been 



10 The Independent I March 2005 




Buffalo Boy is set in 1940 French-occupied Vietnam (Minh Nguyen-Vo) 



able to finish their films had it not been 
for the Initiative. 

"We were working on a shoestring 
budget," says Nguyen-Vo, during a phone 
interview from his home in Los Angeles. 
"We couldn't have any computer-generat- 
ed special eftccts. The camera broke down 
twice. Some oi the lighting went bad. It 
was a real nightmare. " 

Set in 1940 French-occupied Vietnam, 
Buffalo Boy tells the coming-of-age talc of 
15-year-old Kim, whose bther entrusts 
him with the all-important task of herding 
the family's water buffaloes to higher pas- 
tures during Vietnam's rainy season. 
Unable to fund the special effects needed 
to tell the story, Nguyen-Vo was forced to 
actually wait for Vietnam's rainy season to 
begin filming, and beg to borrow water 
buffaloes from neighboring villages, many 
of which had to be walked to the set each 
day from 9 miles away because their own- 
ers couldn't afford to give them up for 
lengthy stretches of time. 

Nguyen-Vo is so grateful to the 
Initiative for allowing him to finish his 
film, which took home the Youth Jury 
Award at the Locarno Film Festival and 
the Silver Hugo for new directors at 



the Chicago International Film Festival, 
that he made a point to be at the first 
screening of the film in Seattle, where the 
tour kicked off before heading to, among 
other cities, Boston, New York, Denver, 
Minneapolis, Miami, and Chicago. 

Other films on the roster include the 
Argentine Ibday cind Tomorrow, the story 
of an aspiring actress who turns to 
streetwalking for money, which took 
home the prize for Best Editing at the 
2004 Havana Film Festival; Whisky, from 
Uruguay, which tells the tale of an owner 
and employee of a sock factory who are 
forced to pose as a married couple; the 
Algerian Daughter of Keltoum, about a 
young woman raised in Switzerland who 
returns to Algeria to reunite with her 
estranged mother; and the Argentine Lili's 
Apron, a comedy about a man masquerad- 
ing as a woman so he can work as a live-in 
maid. 

Nguyen-Vo is confident that Buffilo 
Boy won't be his last film, and he hopes 
that anything he does from now on 
will be easier than working with water buf- 
faloes. 

"They kept fighting," he says. "We 
weren't able to direct them. " -^ 



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March 2005 I The Independent 11 




Sharon 
Lockhart 



By Fiona Ng 




Conceptual filmmaker Sharon Lockhart (Patrik Andersson) 



Los Angeles-based artist, photogra- 
pher, and conceptual filmmaker 
Sharon Lockhart makes films as 
minimal as they are pensi\"e. There's a 
predilection lor long takes, little edits, 
and a fixed, straight-ahead framing with- 
in which actions transpire. Repetitions 
and circularit)' permeate. Time is let to 
elapse. 

In Khalil Shmifi, A Woman Under the 
Influence (1994), Lockhart remade, with 
non-actors, a scene from the 1974 
Cassavetes film. Confusing the line 
between fact and intervention, the hour- 
long Goshogaoka (1997) stages and chore- 
ographs a middle school girls' basketball 
team through a series of fancy warm-up 
drills. Teatro Amazonas (1999) exercises a 
sustained self-reflexiviry on its viewers, as 
thev watch an audience watching a choral 



performance happening offscreen, in an 
opera house Lockhart came across 
through Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo 
(1982). In NO (2003), t^vo farmers 
collect and spread hay in perfect order. 
Lockhart s films have played at Sundance, 
the New Films/New Directors Festival in 
New York, the New York Film Festival, 
and Rotterdam Film Festival. She is 
currenth' working outside ol Los Angeles 
on her fifth lilm. 

Fiona Ng: Describe your style as a 
filmmaker. 

Sharon Lockhart: St}'le is dictated by 
how 1 use the variables of the camera. 
1 use long takes, no camera mo\ement, 
and a normal lens. 1 am not interested in 
distorting the image or in traditional nar- 
rati\-e or editing techniques. 



FN: What is your process like? 

SL: A lot of the enjoyment I get when 
making work happens in the process, in 
my exchanges with the people I work 
with — both in Iront of the camera and 
behind. 1 do a lot of researching at the 
beginning of a project, and then I work 
with the film's subjects so they under- 
stand my goals and in the end, the shoot 
is usually one or two takes on a single 
day. 

My research varies from one film to 
the next, depending on the project. 
Researching a project is also something I 
really enjoy — nothing is on the line — it's 
all about learning and discovering. I get 
pretr\' hea\iK' into it and work pretr\' 
intuitiveK', letting one thing lead me to 
the next. For Goshogaoka, 1 researched 
ethnographic and documentar\' film. 



12 The Independent I March 2005 



postmodern dance, and basketball rou- 
tines and exercises. In NO, I researched 
farms, farmers, growing and harvest 
cycles in rural Japan as well as avant- 
garde Ikebana and landscape painting. 
And in Teatro Amazonas, I looked back 
into experimental ethnography and 
worked with anthropologists and ended 
up continuing the research by interview- 
ing 600 people from every neighborhood 
in the city of Manaus, Brazil. 

FN: What are you working on now? 

SL: I am making a film in a small vil- 
lage in the mountains a few hours north 
of Los Angeles. It features 27 of the 43 
children that live there. I've been filming 
off and on for a little over a year and a 
half now, which is new to me. In the past, 
I have always rehearsed for weeks at a 
time and then shot in one day. As far as 
my process is concerned, this film has 
been more like a number of very small 
films put together. I also have had to 
learn to operate a camera in order to 
obtain and continue an intimate relation- 
ship with the kids. I am almost to the 
post-production stage though — just one 
more shot. Its a long film — it will be a 
little over two hours long with 12, 10- 
minute static shots. I have loved it all, but 
it has been really difficult without a crew 
for the first time. 

FN: Who are your favorite filmmak- 
ers and films? 

SL: 1 have so many favorites, but 
recentlv 1 have been very interested in 
Jean Eustache. I here is really verv little 
written on him, even in French, so it's 
been hard to research him. He died way 
too young, it's so sad. He was so talented. 
If you can see Mes Petites Amoureuses, you 
should. It's really incredible and wasn't 
appreciated nearly as much as it should 
have been when it was made. I also love 
[Robert] Bresson an awful lot and his 
writings on cinematography. Oh, and 1 
was blown away by [Lars Von Trier's] 
Dogville (2003). I really wished I had 
made that film. It was so ambitious and 
uncompromising. I also just recently saw 
The Time of the Wolf{lQQ5) by Michael 



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"I do a lot of researching at the beginning of a 

project, and then I work with the film's subjects so 

they understand my goals and in the end, the shoot 

is usually one or two takes on a single day." 



Haneke and thought it was one of the 
best films I've ever seen. He is uncom- 
promising as well. He doesn't rely on the 
usual tropes of filmmaking and alternates 
between narrative events and the non- 
narrative looks. 

FN: You shot a series of photographs 
called "Audition," based on a first-kiss 
scene in Truffaut's Small Change 
(1976). You also made Khalil, Shaun, 
A Woman Under the Influence, based 
on Cassavettes's film Woman Under the 
Influence. What do you like about 
these two filmmakers? 

SL: The reason I like Cassavetes and 
Truffaut is their relation to realism and 
narrative. I think both of them looked at 
traditional narrative film and found it to 
be forced and inauthentic. They both 
adopted a more natural st\'le that 
allowed viewers to look at an interaction 
or activit)' without it being completely 
in the service ot plot. A lot ot it has to 
do with how they work with people, 
how they work with actors, how they 
work with non-actors. And that is very 
much part of my practice. It's about 
creating a situation, through duration, 
where something can happen. It's meant 
to be very familiar — it's friends and 
family acting. Cassavetes was constantly 
searching for some kind of authenticity 
and he would just keep going and going 
until he found that thing he was looking 
for. Or he would create a fiction that 
somehow exposed people or a situation 
and let it play out in front of the 
camera. 



FN: Are you a structuralist filmmak- 
er? Or do you care to identify as work- 
ing in that tradition? 

SL: I don't mind that affiliation at all. 
It certainly has been an influence on me. 
When I began making films as a graduate 
student at Art Center College of Design 
in Pasadena, some of the first films that 
had an effect on me were those of 
Michael Snow, HoUis Frampton, Andy 
Warhol, and Morgan Fisher. At the same 
time, I think that a lot of the reasons for 
that label have been diluted by 40 years 
of practice. It was originally a very specif- 
ic challenge to mainstream filmmaking, 
but I think some of the ideas have been 
adopted by the mainstream and limiting 
oneself to those structural options can be 
claustrophobic. 

FN: Your films have a transcenden- 
tal, meditative aspect to them... 

SL: Rareh' in cinema do audiences 
ha\'e the opportunit}' to both spend time 
looking and listening. Because of that, 
they might think of watching as "tran- 
scendental" or "meditative." However, 
what they are experiencing is a proactive 
relationship with the screen — that is, 
they have the time to engage through 
looking and listening. This is a much dif- 
ferent experience than when one watches 
a traditional narrative film with informa- 
tion coming directly to the viewer with 
little work on their part. 

FN: You shoot on film and not 
video. Why do you prefer shooting on 
film? 

SL: Well, I think it began with my 



training in photography — m\' first pho- 
tograph was taken with a 4 x 5 camera, 
and that process of slowing down in 
order to make an image has stayed with 
me. I can't imagine not having the level of 
concentration and attention to the frame 
that you have when working with a large 
format camera. I am also very interested 
in the situation that is created when set- 
ting up a shot in this way — making the 
moment more heightened or theatrical. 
With film you shoot less and work 
toward that moment versus shooting 
hours of footage. Extra attention is paid, 
duration is noted. It becomes more of an 
event in the making with the subject, 
more like a play. If I were to shoot video 
I would have a different approach and so 
would my subjects. It also has to do with 
my interest in the social experience of the 
cinema and the level of concentration 
and expectation an audience brings. 

FN: What part of your films do you 
associate with film history, what part 
with video history, and what part with 
photography history? 

SL: Lm really hesitant to locate my 
practice in those terms. I think there are 
parts of each of those histories as well as 
others in all my work, photographic and 
filmic. I am constandy looking at histor- 
ical materials for inspiration and guid- 
ance. I think it is a real trap to say this or 
that histor}- can't be part of your practice. 
It is what makes art stale and limited. So 
I look outside of things that are familiar 
and bring in histories that are new to me, 
that haven't been approached from a con- 
temporar)' perspective, -k 



14 The Independent I March 2005 



FIRST PERSON 



The Indie Godmother 



By Roberta "Bobbie" Lautenschlager 




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(D '-) 

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A former medical missionary nurtures St Louis's film community 



While covering the 2003 St. 
Louis Filmmakers Showcase, 
where one oi my films was 
showing, Joe Williams, film critic of the 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wrote an article in 
which he referred to me as the 
"godmother of the St. Louis filmmaking 
community." I was flattered but also a bit 
embarrassed. I have no idea how he came 
up with it, but the name stuck. More and 
more people began calling me "the 
godmother," and I felt slightly uncom- 
fortable bearing the title without really 
knowing what it meant. I certainly didn't 
start my career in film as any kind of 
godmother. 

In 1989, after serving 20 years as med- 
ical missionaries in West Africa, my 
physician husband, John, and I returned 
to the United States. John decided to go 



back to Africa a year later to trace the 
course of the Niger River — an adventure 
he had always dreamed of I decided to 
remain in the States to earn our living 
and to reconstruct my American life. 

To familiarize myself with the Niger 
River history while John was away, I read 
the diaries of 18th-century Scottish 
explorer Mungo Park's expeditions to the 
river, and as soon as I finished, I knew 
that I had to retell his story. I quickly 
realized that film would probably be the 
best medium for his dramatic tale, so I 
decided to become a screenwriter. It 
made sense at the time. After five months 
of intensive research and seven months of 
writing (often while working as the night 
shift nurse at a local hospital), I had an 
epic story condensed into a 120-page 
script. But I knew that a script was not 



enough and that I would need to learn 
the business of film as well. I ordered 
Holly wood Reporter and Variety and began 
to chart the language and conventions of 
film industry subculture — much as I had 
learned the culture of West Africa. Thus 
armed, I naively set out to conquer the 
film world. 

Several key events happened right 
around that time. 1) I heard John 
Singleton speak at a local St. Louis 
universit)', and he emphasized that volun- 
teerism played a critical role in his 
success. 2) I attended my first film festi- 
val in St. Louis and became an immedi- 
ate fan of independent and foreign film. 
3) Joliba, my screenplay about Mungo 
Park, placed first in a contest and was 
selected for the 1994 Independent 
Feature Film Market. Those ten days in 



March 2005 I The Independent 15 




A participant at the 2004 St. Louis International 
Film Festival panel (Jimphoto.com) 



New York Cit}- slammed me into the 
thick ot the indie film industn', and I 
took to it like a duck to water. And 4), I 
gained two mentors — ^John Grissmer, a 
New York writer-director who later 
became an investor in my company, 
ALLfilm, Inc., and Gesine Thompson, a 
Los Angeles writer-director \\hose phone 
calls energized me time and time again. 



Taking John Singleton's advice, I vol- 
unteered to help the St. Louis Film 
Commission during preproduction for 
the 1996 Bill Murray film, Larger than 
Life. ^Tien MGM asked me to be the 
health officer for the set, I saw it as a ter- 
rific opportunit)' to learn film production 
from the inside out. The set nurse often 
has little to do, so I became fast friends 
with the publicist, talked to all the crew, 
learned about ever\'one's job, and was get- 
ting paid tor my education. Most impor- 
tantly, though, I learned set protocol. 

After several more gigs as a set nurse, 1 
volunteered to produce an independent 
feature film. Amateur Hour (1996), I 
learned two major lessons from this expe- 
rience: that age and responsibilin.' are an 
asset, and if you invest your own money 
in a project, be prepared to lose it. In 
spite of disappointment, I kept a steady 
course in pursuit of my film career. 

I continued to market Joliba, which 
included sending the screenpla)' to the 



agent of actress Alex Kingston (of "ER" 
fame), who then called and said Alex 
wanted to meet me. I flew to London 
over a long weekend, and met her at a 
Soho restaurant. She was the exact image 
I had ot Mungo Park's wife, Allie. We had 
a delightful meal together and, by din- 
ner's end, Alex was attached to the proj- 
ect. On another occasion, I attended a 
production conference in Edinburgh, 
Scotland, during which I visited places 
where Mungo Park lived and worked, 
and then stopped in London on the way 
back to meet Dick Pope, Mike Leigh's 
award-winning cinematographer. Dick, 
ver)' familiar with Africa himself, said he 
would like to shoot Joliba "even if I'm in 
a wheelchair. " Now all I needed was the 
director and a Mungo. 

Along the way, I have collaborated 
with writer/director Tom McDonough 
on several script and film projects. We 
reworked a script from a Milwaukee 
writer into Aniia Petrovic, You Rock!\\ni\i 




16 The Independent I March 2005 




Roberta Lautenschlager, the Sundance bear, and Nick Muccini — her LA producing partner 



Michelle Phillips attached as the rock- 
band singing mom. Tom and I worked 
hard on developing it, even attending the 
1998 Cannes Film Festival, but in the 
end we weren't able to get the project 
going. After losing the option, we decid- 
ed to write our own scripts. Tom wrote 
the charming romantic comedy. For Love 
or Money (1999). Together we wrote a 
low-budget drama. The Lady Next Door 
(1999) and the short film, Americas 
Favorite Pastime (2001), which Tom 
directed and I produced. I was especially 
proud ot obtaining permission Irom 
Sony Music and Bruce Springsteen to use 
"Glory Days" for our closing credits. 
America's Favorite Pastime played in sever- 
al film festivals across the United States. 

I have also been the volunteer curator 
of the New Filmmakers Forum lor the St. 
Louis International Film Festival for the 
past seven years. I spend many hours 
watching submitted films to choose five 
competition features, cultivate personal 
relationships with the selected filmmak- 
ers before they arrive in St. Louis, and 
support them and their films in every 
way I can. For the 1999 New Filmmakers 
Forum, I chose a delightful, hvbrid-doc- 



umentary, Bret Stern's Road to Park City. 
After the festival I became the producer's 
rep for the film, it was chosen as the 
opening night film for Slamdance 2000. 
We were able to get a small distribution 
deal and opened theatrically in New York 
City. It is now available at specialty video 
rental stores. 1 still enjoy watching this 
classic story about filmmaking, which 
should be in every film school library 
alongside Living in Oblivion (1995). 

Twice I was selected lor the Sundance 
Producer's Conference, where I made 
some lifelong friends including percus- 
sionist extraordinaire Will Calhoun, 
who was attending the Composer's 
Conference at the same time. Will com- 
posed the music for the two short docu- 
mentary films I produced with direc- 
tor/editor Pat Scallet ( The Niger River 
Trek, 2003 and Fundamental Fairness, 
2004). The latter was produced in an 
effort to gain clemency tor Bill Hanes, a 
man convicted of murder in a bizarre 
case. Fundamental Fairness won two first 
place awards at its first two film festivals 
(Lake Arrowhead Festival of Film, and 
the St. Louis International Film Festival). 
I have been a judge for the 



Cinemaspoke Screenpia\' Competition 
sponsored by Cinema St. Louis, for 
which I concentrate on critiquing format, 
an area that is often weak, and one I feel 
especially confident about. I also repre- 
sent scripts and finished films to distribu- 
tors I know. With my help, St. Louis 
documentarian Doug Whyte made a deal 
with Seventh Art Releasing tor his film, 
Pushing up Daisies (to be released this 
year). Attending Sundance yearly (this 
was my ninth year) helps me keep my 
industry relationships up-to-date. 

Today, my script about Mungo Park 
has a new title. River of Sorrow. Nicholas 
Muccini, an experienced Los Angeles pro- 
ducer, is now my co-writer and co-pro- 
ducer on the project, and my old friend 
Will Calhoun has agreed to compose the 
music. Nick and I are currently develop- 
ing a family holiday drama. Lives of the 
Saints. Screenwriter, and St. Louis native, 
Brian Hohlfeld, {He Said She Said Pooh's 
Heffalump Movie) will direct. Actor James 
LeGros is tapped to play the lead role. 
The film will shoot in St. Louis next 
Christmas season. 

So does any or all of this rightfully earn 
me the title "godmother of St. Louis film?" 
I don't know. Maybe it's less complicated 
than accomplishments and pedigree — 
maybe it's simply because I am a woman 
filmmaker of a certain age. Either way, I 
feel comfortable with the title now, because 
to me, it's about respect for the experiences 
I've had and am willing to share with oth- 
ers. I glor)' in championing talented St. 
Louis filmmakers, and value the fact that 
people trust me to read their scripts and 
give them advice about their projects. I like 
being a godmother — a nurturer, a com- 
forter, and an encourager. -k 



March 2005 I The Independent 17 



FESTIVAL CIRCUIT 



The 

Women 



o 



f 



Sund 



ance 




Their smart, provocative films help redefine "chick flick" 



By Kate Bernstein 

Flipping througli the catalog of this year's Sundance Film 
Festival, the faces of American narrative filmmakers are 
unsurprisingly still predominantly male, reflecting the 
state of the industry at large. However, there are a few renegade 
female faces that thankfully interrupt the gender homogenei^^^ 
Whether their films have overtly feminist subject matter that 
directly relates to women's issues or their films deal with sexual- 
ity in a more genderless realm alongside other equally important 
themes, these women brought a unique and much-needed voice 
to the cinematic landscape ol American narrative film at the 
country's most attention-grabbing festival. 

How the Garcia Girls Spent their Summer follows three gener- 
ations of women — daughter, mother, and grandmother — as 
each deals with a complex and personal battle between newly 
aroused sexual desires and societal as well as religious norms. 
Quirky, witr\', and heartfelt, the film poses these three women's 
individual explorations against the judgments they make about 
one another's choices. The result moves the characters from 
introspection to enlightenment. Garcia Girls is happily 
unapologetic in embracing female subject matter not often seen 
on screen — from masturbation and menstruation to sex in the 
over-60 set. 



"To an extent I wrote the three women as virgins," says 27- 
year-old writer-director Georgina Garcia Riedel. "You could 
have lost your virginity at a very young age, but maybe you have 
an experience 20 years later that blows your mind, and it's like 
losing your virginity all over again. I tend to make films about 
topics that scare me myself — as my characters are exploring, I'm 
exploring, too. " 

Riedel wrote the film during her last year at the ^American 
Film Institute's Masters program in directing. After graduating 
and having her thesis short film One Night It Happened pXiy the 
festival circuit, she worked a series of receptionist jobs before 
taking the plunge and making her first feature with the finan- 
cial support of her family. "Making the film and finishing it was 
hard, but the hardest part was deciding to do it in the first place. 
The fear of being a professional office girl lor the rest of my life 
made me finalK' do it," she says with a laugh. 

Riedel had a wonderfully powerful cast of female leads to 
help her make that leap of faith. Veteran actresses Elizabeth 
Pena and Luc\' Gallardo joined new sensation America Ferrera, 
who made her on-screen Sundance debut in the 2002 hit Real 
Women Have Curves. In Garcia Girls, Ferrera returns as yet 
another strong-willed, sharp-mouthed Latina teenager. 



18 The Independent I March 2005 



"Young women are represented in film 
as timid victims of circumstance tor 
whom coming of age is a hard, horrible 
thing," Ferrara says. "It's a refreshing feel- 
ing to be able to play a young girl who's 
smart and self-assured. Growing up, I 
never fit the stereotype of an angst[- 
filled] teenager so it's wonderful to have a 
more diverse representation of what a 
young women is. " 

Also at Sundance this year. Saving Face 
blasts gender taboos and explores cross- 
generational women poignantly and 
entertainingly. Set in the Chinese- 
American immigrant community of 
Flushing, Queens, Saving Face follows a 
48-year-old widowed mother who is 
banished from her parents' home and 
neighborhood when she is impregnated 
out of wedlock by a younger man. She 
goes to live with her daughter Wil, a suc- 
cessful doctor, who in turn enrages her 
mother by coming out as a lesbian. By 
the end of the film, both women find the 
strength to be who they really are and 
learn to understand each other better. 

"The film was a love letter to my 
mother after I saw her being ostracized by 




Michele Krusiec as Wilhelmina Pang and Joan Chen as Ma in Saving Face 
(Larry Riley/Sony Pictures Classics) 



her Chinese immigrant communit)',"' says 
33-year-old American director Alice Wu 
of her first feature film. "Specifically for 
women there's a clock on us for appropri- 
ate times to do things — but we actually 
get so many chances in life to decide to 



live honestly. I wrote Saving Face to say 
no matter what your sexuality, love can 
start at an\- point in life you want it to." 
Saving Face also radiates with strong 
female performances. Acclaimed actress 
Joan Chen plays the displaced matriarch 



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Miranda July (Christine) in a scene from Me and You and Everyone We Know, directed by 
Miranda July (IPC Films) 



and joins newcomers Michele Krusiec, 
who plays Wil, and Lynn Chen, who 
plays Wils girlfriend Vivian, ro create a 
diverse emotional exploration between 
these three women trying to find their 
way in rigid community traditions. 

"It was a blessing to play someone who 
knows what they want and isn't ashamed 
to ask for it," Lynn Chen says. "My char- 
acter represents a lot of women who don't 
exist on screen. I hope it's not only inspir- 
ing for women, Asian women, and les- 
bians, but normalizes these sort of char- 
acters for everyone." 

The film's message is no doubt 
inspired by Wu's own history, having dar- 
ingly quit her career as a computer engi- 
neer in Seattle at age 28 to move to New 
York and learn what it takes to make a 
movie. It was a move that earned her the 
respect of her actresses. 

"I'm inspired by Alice," Krusiec says. 
"I was so impressed by her decision to 
leave her old career and enter into film- 
making. It is empowering to see another 
woman really take a risk and believe in 
herself Being a fellow female artist, you 
see a lot of repression and inability to 
have the courage and strength to express 
what you hope to accomplish. And she 
really took bull by horns." 

Wu's strength paid off Five years later 



she was in production and Sony Pictures 
Classics bought Saving Face before its 
premiere screening at the Toronto Film 
Festival this past September. 

Another first-time narrative filmmaker 
who found great success and buzz at 
Sundance is Miranda July. Her film. Me 
and You and Everyone We Know, is an 
experimental narrative that weaves 
together an ensemble cast of new 
actors — ranging from young children to 
an elderly couple — whose stories flow in 
and out of each other with the grace and 
coincidence of real life. All the characters, 
young and old, explore their sexuality 
with a raw sensibility, but it is the candid 
portrayal of the film's youth that is truly 
innovative. 

"It's about children and power," July 
says. "The kind of power they have in 
their own right and even over adults. The 
girls in the film are trying to figure out 
how to move things forward, how to 
grow up and become women." 

Although a new feature filmmaker, 
July, who also stars in the film, is no 
stranger to film and performance. Ten 
years ago she started making short films 
and putting out a video chain letter of 
girl-directed cinema called Joanie 4 
Jackie. She released audio recordings on 
lamed underground record label Kill 



20 The Independent I March 2005 



Rock Stars, and took her shows from 
punk clubs to theatres. It was her reputa- 
tion as an artist that got her backburner 
script made into a film — from the screen- 
writing and filmmaking labs at Sundance 
to finding a producer and getting back- 
ing from IFC Films and Film Four, to 
finally debuting her film in competition 
at the festival. 

"One thing I would say about direct- 
ing the movie is that I was pretty emo- 
tional the whole time," July says. "It was- 
n't unusual for me to cry. And there were 



through being a promiscuous teen, an 
irresponsible neighbor, and now a moth- 
er in a marriage." 

Steal Me is Painter's third feature film 
since completing NYUs graduate film 
school. But it is the first time that she's 
had a feature film at Sundance. While she 
believes that "what people want from 
woman directors is to tell stories that 
other people can't tell," Painter also feels 
that there is a type of film necessary to 
grab the attention of the Sundance festi- 
val gatekeepers. 




Director Georgina Garcia Riedel on location for How the Garcia Girls Spent their Summer 



moments where I felt I was completely 
undermining myself Now, I want that to 
be the new thing that's OK. When there 
are millions of women directors, there's 
going to be all sorts of different ways to 
direct." 

Directing with female themes con- 
sciously in the forefront is a method that 
another Sundance filmmaker, Melissa 
Painter, I'avors, even though the main 
protagonist of her film Sten/ Me is a 
15-year-boy. The film follows Jake, a 
runaway bov who identifies himself 
through kleptomania and promiscuity. 
He moves in with a friend's family, 
attempts to win the love of his friend's 
mother in the absence of his own, has an 
affair with an older single mother next 
door, and bonds with a sexually promis- 
cuous girl his own age. 

"I cannot imagine making this film 
not as a woman," Painter says. "It's 100 
percent based on my experience of 
becoming a woman who has gone 



"With this film, 1 decided 1 was over 
being wandering and K'rical and pretty, " 
she says. "It doesn't do me any good to 
tell my story my way if no one wants to 
see it the way that I told it. I wrote Steal 
Me to be loud, big, and shake people 
enough that it would be accessible to a 
programming department." 

Regardless of when and how one ulti- 
mately winds up at Sundance, there's still 
no doubt that being one of the women in 
the catalog brings attention to a 
filmmaker's work and can be a major 
career turner. 

Or, as Amy Redford, daughter of 
Sundance founder Robert Redford and 
star of festival film This Revolution, says: 
"If you can look away from the people in 
stilettos and all that madness and by- 
product, Sundance is a wonderful way for 
women to mine the experience of their 
colleagues and make connections with 
producers and executives. " ^ 



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A captivating documentary nnakes it through some deep waters 



B\- Cher\-1 Furjanic 



I saw synchronized swimming for the 
first time while watching the 
Sydney Olympics on TA' in the 
summer of 2000. I knew what it was, but 
it never reallv made an impression on me 
like it did that day. It seemed a little 
strange with the make-up, the smiles — 
but the longer I watched it, the more 
compelled and impressed I was by this 
amazing sport. 

As a documentary filmmaker, Im 
always on the lookout tor film topics that 
are exciting and \'isualK' interesting — sto- 
ries that take us places we haven t been or 
show us a new side of something we 
thought \\'e knew. Synchronized swim- 
ming (or synchro) had it all. So \^'hen I 
heard that the synchronized swimming 
Olympic trials were approaching. I knew 
that a behind-the-scenes look at the road 
to the Olympics would make a good doc- 
umentary. It would be both visualK stun- 
ning and enlightening tor people who 



think its an easy sport in which swim- 
mers walk on the bottom of a pool wear- 
ing sequins and smiles. 

I sent a letter to the USA Synchro 
media director telling him of mv interest 
in making a documentar\' about the 
team, even though I was convinced he 
probably wouldn't respond. A few days 
later, I got his reply: "I received your let- 
ter and materials today. USA Synchro 
would lo\e to work with you on your 
documentary project." 

Oh, crap. Even though this him had 
been a dream oi" mine tor over rwo years, 
it was more of an idea than a plan. I had- 
nt written an\-thing that e\'en resembled 
a proposal, and I hadnt raised a penny. 
But I didn't dwell for too long. I could- 
n't: I had a film to make. I quickh' assem- 
bled a crew — DP Laela Kilbourn, sound 
mixer Gabriel Miller and PA Amanda 
Steigerwald — got myself a brand ne\s' 
credit card, and scheduled our first shoot. 



Luckily, I didn't have time to think about 
how big this project could turn out to be, 
how long it might take, or how much 
money it would cost. 

The major shoot deadline for the proj- 
ect was August 2004 — the Summer 
Oh'mpic Games. \(Tien I looked at the 
team's schedule, I wanted to shoot it all — 
the trials, training, and international 
competitions — which would make for 
20-plus shoots. In reality', our shooting 
strategy' turned out more like this: Raise 
money (or get new credit card), fly to the 
team training facilit}' in Santa Clara, 
California, shoot for five to seven days, 
and fl\- back to New York. Rinse. Repeat. 

In January 2003, my crew and I trav- 
eled to the ^''est Coast where we spent a 
week shooting the first phase of the 
Olympic trials. Our first shoot went real- 
ly well — synchro was as visually captivat- 
ing as I had imagined, we had great 
access, the swimmers seemed really open 



22 Tfie Independent I Marcfi 2005 




The 2004 bronze medal-winning Olympic synchronized swimming team take a breather, 
poolside in Athens, Greece (Cheryl Furjanic) 



to having us there, and the coach, Chris 
Carver, was smart and strict (and she 
looked great on camera and gave amazing 
sound bites). Based on this first experi- 
ence, 1 was extremely optimistic. 

The following month we got word that 
Tammy Crow, one of the swimmers we 
were following at the OKmpic trials the 
month before, was in a terrible car acci- 
dent. Her boyfriend and the other passen- 
ger in her car were killed, and she had a 
broken arm and severe back injuries. I 
thought this would be a straightforward 
synchro movie. I never anticipated that 
such a horrible event would become part 
of the story we were telling. 

By March 2003, I knew I needed help. 
So I called my former NYU film school 
collaborator, Amanda Keropian and said, 
"I've got two words for you: synchronized 
swimming." Amanda was immediately 



interested and agreed to come on board 
as a producer at the same salary as me (SO 
an hour). The Sync or Swim producing 
team was complete. 

Our second shoot — the National 
Championships on Long Island — was a 
little rougher. Evidently, the media direc- 
tor hadn't fully explained the film to the 
team. They didn't seem to understand 
that we planned to follow them for the 
next year and a hah to the Olympics. The 
coach kept walking out of range of our 
microphone. At lunch, the president of 
USA Synchro asked me if we'd be done 
shooting the movie at the end of the day. 
I wanted to puke. We shot for one day 
and sent the crew home. The following 
day, I finally got a chance to explain to 
the coach what I wanted to do. Her 
response: "You want to follow us all the 
way to the Olympics?" She was into it. 






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DP Laela Kilbourn (left), sound mixer Gabriel Miller (background), and director/producer Cheryl 
Furjanic (right) on location for Sync or Swim (Amanda Steigerwald) 



and recalled that after they won the gold 
medal in 1996 they'd missed an opportu- 
nity to really promote the sport. They 
hadn't won in 2000 and hoped to capture 
at least the bronze in 2004. Next we 
explained the project to the swimmers 
who also seemed enthusiastic. We were 
(finally) all on the same page. 

B\' this point, I was so excited about 
the project that I assumed people would 
be throwing money my way based on my 
enthusiasm alone. But m\' fundraising 
experience seemed to mirror that of" the 
swimmers. Synchro is so unsupported by 
sponsors that the Santa Clara Aquamaids, 
reigning national champions and produc- 
er of many Olympic team members, 
owns and operates a bingo parlor to raise 
enough money to pay for their training 
facilities and coaches salaries. 

We didn't open a bingo parlor, but we 
hosted se\'eral fundraisers. I also sent out 
a monthly e-newsletter, "Movie News, " 
to give my colleagues, friends, and family 
an update and an opportunit}' to help 
out. Early on we set up a website where 
prospective donors could see our trailer 
and learn more about the film. \Xe man- 



aged to raise about S30,000 in financial 
and in-kind donations from over 100 
indi\'idual donors. We often didn't have 
enough money to do a shoot until the 
week before we were scheduled to leave. 
Through all of this, my amazing crew was 
incredibly patient. I'm grateful they did- 
n t plan a revolt. 

For the next year, we traveled berween 
New York and Santa Clara to document 
as much of the Olympic synchro experi- 
ence as possible. This was both a 
complete joy and totally wrenching. 
When the team was training and choreo- 
graphing, they were open and friendl)'. 
During the Olympic trials they were, as 
was to be expected, stressed and preoccu- 
pied. For man\- of them, this was their 
last chance to make the team. Amazingly, 
Tammy Crow recovered from her acci- 
dent and secured a spot on the Olympic 
team only to find out a month later (after 
the Olympics) that she would have to 
sers'e 90 da\'s in a California jail for two 
counts of \-ehicular manslaughter. 

After about 1 1 shoots (including one 
with the "godmother of s\'nchronized 
swimming," Esther Williams), suddenK' 



24 The Independent I March 2005 



the Olympic Games loomed. When 
people asked me questions about going 
to the Games, I tried to avoid them. I 
knew we didn't have the money to go. On 
the other hand, I knew the movie would- 
n't be complete without the climax of the 
Olympics. I managed to attract some 
interest from corporate sponsors, but 
nothing panned out. 

Then, three weeks before the 
Olympics, a generous donor committed 
$3,000 to the project. Although $3,000 
wasn't much, it would buy plane tickets. 
We were going to the Games! By this 
time, I had almost no money left on my 
credit cards to cover the rest of the costs, 
but I stuck to my decision. A week later, 
we got a $3,500 donation from The 
Heaney Family Fund of the Oshkosh 
Area Community Foundation. I started 
breathing again. One week later, we 
cleaned out our account with our fiscal 
sponsor. The Center for Independent 
Documentary. This brought the total to 
almost $10,000 (including credit cards 
borrowed from friends). We arranged for 
a Greek PA to be our driver/translator, 
and we were off 

When we arrived, Athens was buzzing 
with the Olympic spirit. NBC paid a lot 
of money for the rights to broadcast the 
Games, and though I'm prett)' sure we 
were not a threat to them, we were still 
denied media credentials. So we gave the 
synchro team a Mini-DV camera to doc- 
ument their Olympic experience for us to 
use in the film. We also got permission to 
shoot two of the team's practices. They 
seemed excited that we traveled this tar 



(in miles and months) to see them 
compete. We spent a lot of time with the 
families ot the swimmers and got plenty 
of Athens B-roll. We attended the synchro 
competitions to cheer the team on, know- 
ing that we would have to license the 
competition footage eventually. Tammy 
Crow, fully recovered from her accident, 
competed for Team USA. After five days 
of intense competition, the team captured 
two bronze medals. The swimmers cried, 
the parents cried, I cried. 

Six months later, Amanda and I are 
still working our way through 130-plus 
hours of footage and are choosing an edi- 
tor. We're still trying to raise the money 
needed to finish the film (about 
$100,000) or at least enough to get a 
rough cut done so we can shop it around 
to broadcasters. We're planning post- 
Olympic interviews with the swimmers 
and researching archival footage for a his- 
torical section of the film. 

I've had Olympic fever ever since I can 
remember. I grew up playing sports and 
harbored secret fantasies of being in the 
Games. In an email to our crew right 
before we left for the Games, Olympic 
coach Chris Carver told us: "You are far 
more than a documentary crew to us. You 
are a part of the team." So in the end, I 
did make it to the Games — not to com- 
pete, but to make a movie. ■*■ 

See www.synchromovie.com for more 
information. 




1 



Don't let your script end here. 



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member of AIVF, the Association of 

Independent Video and Filmmakers. 

By joining AIVF you can enjoy benefits 

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Sara Lowe and Stephanie Nesbitt prepare for the Olympic duet trials (Cheryl Furjanic) 



March 2005 I The Independent 25 






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PROFILE 



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"N 







Tracking Aimee Mann 

Her tunes have made — and been made — by indie films 



By Dianne Spoto Shattuck 

Aimee Mann is one tough woman 
to track down. After a month of 
scheduling and rescheduling an 
interview time, I was finally about to sit 
down and talk with Mann about her role 
as composer of independent film sound- 
track, and about how the art ot film 
inspires her as a songwriter. 

Before her critically acclaimed sound- 
track to Paul Thomas Anderson's brilliant 
film, Magnolia (1999), Mann was best 
known as the front woman to the 80s 
post-new wave band 'Til Tuesday. After 
she left the major label group to embark 
on a solo career in the mid 90s, Mann 
scored some hits and was able to find the 
freedom to express and market herself the 
way she wanted to as an indie label artist. 



Like indie films, the indie music busi- 
ness has its perks, most ot which having to 
do with the quality of the work. "You get 
so much more work done as an indie 
artist, " she says in her familiar mellow 
voice. "With majors, everybody has to 
have control, and you can't get anything 
done — they have a system. As an artist, 
you're constantly trying to do something 
different. I recall my manager and I tr)'ing 
to come up with alternative ideas of how 
to promote my albums, but the label 
reliised. They're simply terrified to try any- 
thing else. " Seems only fitting, then, that 
Mann would pair with an independent 
filmmaker like Paul Thomas Anderson. 

"Paul and I were friends before the film 
was made," Mann says. "But it was 



serendipity, really, the way the music 
worked within the film. 1 actually wrote 
the songs first and he took them for the 
movie." It's rare that a musician will have 
an entire soundtrack composed for a film 
prior to the screenplay being written, 
though as Mann explains, "I read some 
of the screenplay, yes, but it was amazing 
in that I had the songs and he had 
a [screen] play, and the two fused together 
perfectly." 

Anderson's critically acclaimed Mag- 
nolia is a collage of about ten separate sto- 
ries. Yet, they are all interconnected by the 
paradoxical and sometimes tragic state of 
being both together and alone in the uni- 
verse. This sacred synchronicity is the 
foundation of the film, and the core of its 



March 2005 I The Independent 27 



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soundtrack. Mann's cover of "One" (the 
Harry Nilsson tune popularized bv Three 
Dog Night) plays ingeniously throughout 
the film, and Mann, with her trademark 
hauntingly lonely voice, actually serves as 
a narrator of sorts, weaving together each 
forlorn tale by its common theme of lone- 
liness: "One is the loneliest 
number... Much much worse than 
two. . .One is a number divided by two." 

Anderson's unique placement of the 
music within the film is particularly 
poignant in the opening credits, which are 
introduced through Mann's spare music 
and singing, then paired with the slightly 
psychedelic entrance of a magnolia flower 
as the music expands. Such sublime com- 
bination oi music and imagery makes it 
difficult to know whether these poetic 
placements were made by director, 
composer, or both. "The placement oi the 
music [in this instance] was up to 
the director," Mann says. "I'd already 
recorded the song 'One' a few years before. 
But Paul heard it and wanted it for 
Magnolia. He's an astoundingly great film- 
maker, and his use of music is one of the 
unique talents about him — a lot of direc- 
tors cannot do what he does with music. 
He sets up a tone and mood and uses 
music as an extremely powerfiil tool to 
help tell the story." 

And then there is that pure cinematic 



moment of unexpected 
beauty, simplicity, and 
emotional wallop when the 
core characters all take 
turns, in their isolation, 
singing Mann's "Wise Up" 
in their own voices. It's 
almost subconscious how it 
sneaks up on you — a per- 
fect bridge at the perfect 
moment in a bold movie. 

Magnolias complicated 
plot — or rather plots — 
follow two families and 
several loosely connected 
characters through a single, 
unbelievably eventful 

(somewhat biblical) day in 
the San Fernando Valley. 
And Mann's consistent and 
repeated voice throughout 
the film is a comforting 
reminder that we are all 
connected on a certain level, even if the 
connection is that we are alone. Mann 
confesses, "I didn't expect all the songs to 
remain — the music in a movie is really a 
flavor that you add to or subtract from, 
depending on what story needs to be told. 
To me [the soundtrack] acts like an effec- 
tive extension of the dialogue in a film." 

Mann has since extended the dialogue 
in a few films, as well as in television. Her 
cover duet with husband Michael Penn — 
brother of the actors Sean and Chris 
Penn — of The Beatles song "Two of Us" is 
the opening track of the I am Sam (2001) 
soundtrack. In 1995, Mann's hit "That's 
Just NXTiat You Are" was included on the 
soundtrack to the television series, 
"Melrose Place." "There are two ways to 
go about this participation," Mann says. 
"The first way is where the filmmaker or 
TV producer will ask you to write for the 
movie specifically. The other way is where 
they want a song that you've already 
done — and you can only hope it's going to 
be right for the movie." She chuckles. "I 
usually ask to see the scene first. I try to 
stay away from the most egregious stuff, 
especially TV work. 1 don't want my music 
associated with something awful! " 

So far, so good. "1 wish more people 
would use music more carefully in movies. 
A lot of people use it but they just throw it 
in there. I think the thing I love about 



28 The Independent I March 2005 



Anderson's use of music is that he really 
lets songs take over a scene, on equal par 
with the narration." 

Regarding writing specifically for 
screenplays, Mann says, "Sometimes they 
ask me to write songs for the movie based 
on a particular script, which is not that 
easy to do. I'll give it a shot, but it is much 
easier to go at it the other way around. " 

But even if the song ends up not being 
used in a film, it still has its rewards. "I 
wrote a song for a movie called The 
Human Stain" Mann says. "The director 
[Robert Benton] ultimately decided to 
have no songs — just an instrumental 
score, so I had the song back. I'm actually 
including it on my new solo album, which 
is a concept album, using boxing as a 
metaphor. I was quite proud of the song 
because it not only went with the movie 
but also stood on its own. " 

So how does film affect the process of 
songwriting in terms ol inspiration? "Paul 
has really inspired me as a writer," Mann 
says. "His first movie Hard Eight has a 
scene in it where the characters run off and 
drive away together. I actually had that in 
mind when I wrote the song 'King of the 
Jailhouse' on my new album," Mann says. 
"It is a concept album, and I never quite 
realized until this very moment just how 
much film and imagery plays a part in my 
songwriting process. " 

Mann has gone even kirther beyond 
film and music on her new record to 
include yet another art hirm, painting. 
"We're even going to hire an artist/painter 
for the album artwork, " she says. "I really 
want to include other mediums, and it is 
not common to have actual paintings in 
an album today. It takes time to paint, and 
the major labels are on intense schedules 
that would not tolerate this kind of 
creativity. It's going to take a while to 
complete, but it is going to be beautiful. 

"At this point, the working title of the 
new album is 'The Forgotten Arm.' There 
is a very cinematic, visual concept to this 
project. The stor\' takes place in the 1970s. 
Its about a boxer and this woman he gets 
involved with. He had spent time in 
Vietnam and developed a drug problem 
there. When he comes back to her, it is a 
very dysfiinctional relationship. The term 
'the forgotten arm' comes from an old 
boxing trick: if you are fighting close to 



the ropes, you can rest your right hand 
near the opponent's waist, and then sud- 
denly hit them with that 'forgotten arm' — 
the opponent has a false sense of security. 
And that is a metaphor for the two people 
in this relationship. The drug addiction 
and trauma is the 'forgotten arm' here." 

Sounds like the makings of a powerful 
independent film. Maybe someone out 
there reading this is up for the task and can 
pitch it to Mann before P.T Anderson gets 
his hands on it. "k 



Save Me 

You look like a perfect fit 

For a girl in need of a tourniquet 

But can you save me 

Come on and save me 

If you could save me 

From the ranks of the freaks 

Who suspect they could never love 

anyone 

'Cause I can tell 
You know what it's like 
The long farewell 
Of the hunger strike 

But can you save me 

Come on and save me 

If you could save me 

From the ranks of the freaks 

Who suspect they could never love 

anyone 

You struck me dumb like radium 
Like Peter Pan or Superman 
You will come to save me... 

-Words and lyrics by Aimee Mann 

"Save Me" is the Academy 
Award-nominated song from the 
Magnolia soundtrack. 



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March 2005 I The Independent 29 



PROFILE 




Wrestling with the Truth 

Ruth Leitman's documentaries lie somewhere between 

fact and fiction 



By Lisa Selin Davis 

Don't expect what you read in tiiis 
article to be true. The subject, 
Ruth Leitman, is not interested in 
truth, not in the traditional sense. "You 
can fact check all you want, but really 
there aren't a lot of tacts," she says. 
"They're very subjective facts, individual- 
ized facts. I'm really interested in those 
versions and layers of the truth, and I'm 
also really interested in how and why 
people tell lies." 

Leitman, 42, a Chicago-based film- 
maker and photographer, has made five 
feature-length documentaries to date, 
each of which delves into that murky 
space between fact and fiction. Her latest 
work, Lipstick and Dynamite, Piss and 
Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling 



(2004) tells the story of six elderly 
women who once stood inside a wrestling 
ring and, well, kicked butt. But she never 
asked them — and doesn't really want to 
be asked — about whether the wrestling 
was real. 

"It is performance art and it's always 
been performance art," Leitman says. 
"You don't say real or fake in the 
wrestling world." 

You don't say real or fake in Leitman's 
documentary world, either. Her films are 
not searches for the ultimate truth, but 
explorations of how people want to pres- 
ent themselves, what they wish to be true, 
and the stories around which they con- 
struct their lives. They're about truth and 
construction, self-reliance and helpless- 



ness, and surviving and succumbing. 

Leitman grew up in the suburbs of 
Philadelphia, but hers was not a 
traditional childhood. "I lived an adult 
life as a teenager," she says. "My parents 
were separated, and I was involved with 
an older man. Those typical teenage 
experiences were not part of what I was 
able to have. I was really outside of all 
that stuff, and I was really very curious 
about it." That curiosity has led to a run- 
ning theme in Leitman's oeuvre. 
"Teenage girls have been at the center ol 
all my work," she says. 

So she began her career as a still pho- 
tographer, investigating the lives ol 
teenage girls along the boardwalk in 
Wildwood, New Jersey. "It was the place 



30 The Independent I March 2005 



that everyone that I grew up with went to 
lose their virginity, learn about boys and 
love and fighting and sex, and try to get 
away from their parents," Leitman says. 
"I was photographing the experiences 
that I didn't have — the prom, the high 
school football game — through the eyes 
of a teenage girl." 

But as she was photographing these 
girls — first surreptitiously and later with 
their consent and even enthusiastic 
approval — Leitman was struck by the 
stories they told. "I had this frustration of 
not getting to hear what they had to say," 
she says. She returned to the boardwalk 
with a super-8 synch sound camera and 
an all-female film crew, and thus her first 
documentary, Wildwood, New Jersey 
(1994), came to be. 

Once the girls in Wildwood started 
talking, Leitman noticed how they 
seemed to create fictions for themselves. 
And rather than probe them to find out 
it their stories were true, Leitman wanted 
to probe their lives to find out what 
prompted them to exaggerate or even lie. 
"The character that I was closest to [in 
Wildwood\ was Bonnie, who claims to 
have killed someone," she says. "Still to 
this day I don't know if that's really true, 
but she wants us to think that about her. 
Why does she want us to think that? She 
kind of brags about it, like she has a 
certain sense of accomplishment. That 
really fascinates me. " 

She continued that theme in Alma 
(1997), a southern gothic documentary 
about the complex relationship between a 
woman and her mentally ill mother. 
While Wildwood is framed around a 
series of interviews with girls along the 
boardwalk, Almas structure is more 
complex. "There were times that I would 
go back and re-film a story that Alma 
[the film's titular subject] told because I 



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Ella Waldek in the ring in Ruth Leitman's 
Lipstick and Dynamite (Koch Lorber Films) 



wanted to explore how she might explain 
it to me on a particular day," Leitman 
says. "There were different versions of the 
truth in Alma, and then there were 
certain stories that would never change." 

If the idea of a documentary where 
scenes and stories are re-filmed and recre- 
ated makes you ner\'ous — too Robert 
Flahert}' for some folks — to Leitman, 
pushing the limits of documentars' is kev 
to her investigation 01" the truth and its 
versions. "A lot of people said, That s not 
a documentary,'" she says. "It's not an 
ethnographic documentar}' and it was 
not a personal documentary." Leitman 
was a close friend of Margie, Alma's 
daughter, co-star, and co-producer of the 
film. Leitman's participation in the film is 
not hidden — you can see and hear her on 
the periphery, feel her presence within 
the film. "I real!)- am very interested in 
pushing the subject-filmmaker bound- 
aries," she says. "I've always been sort of a 
little put off b\' documentaries where the 
filmmaker is obviously the removed 
expert. I'm never the removed expert. 
Never I dont want to be." 

When she came across the first ladies 
of wrestling, Leitman dove in whole- 
heartedly (you can e\'en see footage of her 



in a body-lock during the credits). She 
says: "It had everything that I was really 
interested in: women who are faded 
beauties and women who have the 
bravado that they have. They were 
beautiful creatures and also strong and 
physically defiant." 

The film combines interviews with 
these women — major wrestling stars in 
the 1950s — with archival footage 
(including, naturally, footage from the 
TV game show "To Tell the Truth"). 
While it's Leitman's most structurallv 
traditional film, it continues to investi- 
gate the strength/weakness, truth/fiction 
dichotomies with \\'hich she's been so 
fascinated. "I'm not a women's sports 
fan, but I was realK' interested in these 
women and their li\-es, ' she savs. "The 
wrestling becomes a backdrop to talk 
about these other things." 

The women — Gladys "Killem" 
Gillem, Johnnie Mae Young, The 
Fabulous Moolah, Ida May Martinez, 
Penn\' Banner, and Ella Waldek — all 
came from hard knock lives long before 
they stepped into the ring. Many of them 
created stages names ("The Fabulous 
Moolah" is not on an\' birth certificate) 
and with them, new identities. They 
came from poverty, violence, and abuse, 
and most were recruited in the 1940s and 
1950s b\' the infamous women's wrestling 
promoter Billy Wolfe. He was their 
pimp, their stand-in father, and for some 
of them, their lover. 

"I was really fascinated that there was 
this one man who traveled around the 
country and found these girls who were 
looking for a way out, " Leitman says. 
"Thev \\-ere pimped out, they got noth- 
ing. All of them have serious physical 
health issues because of wrestling, and 
they didn't have an\- health insurance. 
They got paid in cash. 

But thev were not helpless creatures. 
Thev threw one another around the ring, 
gouged each other's e\'es, punched and 
kicked and jumped and scratched. They 
mav look like sweet old grandmothers, 
but they don't sound like them. "I 
wrestled dirr\- and I was a tough son of a 



32 The Independent I March 2005 




The Fabulous Moolah and Judy in the ring in Lipstick and Dynamite (Ruthless Films) 



gun," Johnny Mae says. And The 
Fabulous Moolah says happily, "1 was 
mean." 

Over the course ot the film, the 
women tally their injuries, which include 
"a cauliflower on the back of the head," 
"eyes hanging from their sockets," and "a 
broken stomach." Whether or not the 
wrestling was "real," they came out 
bruised and beaten. "They certainly did- 
n't have the special effects that they have 
today," Leitman says. "They got hurt 
more, and they were more athletic." 

But the women used their years in the 
wrestling world to springboard to other 
things. One became a nurse; another, a 
lion tamer. A few of them are still 
involved in the wrestling world. In the 
end, the women really did come out on 
top, and despite the exploitation they 
endured during their wrestling years they 
continue to feel a sense of pride, and even 



nostalgia, about their glory days. 

"1 really wanted the audience to see 
that in a certain way the film was about 
the duality of the powerlessness and the 
powerfulness that the women had at the 
time," Leitman says. "Most of my sub- 
jects are people who are often never 
asked an\thing about themselves. These 
are girls that, often, people looked at but 
never really wanted to know what they 
had to say. They are dying to talk about 
themselves and to be heard." The stories 
they tell, whether or not they ring 
completely true, are always about 
women wanting to recreate themselves in 
the world, riding the line between fact 
and fiction. 

These days, Leitman herself is riding 
that line. She's moving toward narrative 
film and has just finished a feature- 
length screenplay about — what else — a 
girl wrestler. Her goal is to get back to 



her photographic roots, where she has 
more creative control over the aesthet- 
ics — control that's much harder to find 
with documentary work. She's also 
working on a personal, experimental 
film that deals with a tragedy she 
endured while working on Alma. 
Leitman miscarried during the shooting 
of the film, and then conceived again 
during the editing process. ''Egbert and 
Ella is about the two daughters that I 
had in one year, " Leitman says. "It really 
deals with the materialit)' of film and the 
fragilit}' of life." 

Like all her films, Egbert and Ella will 
explore what it's like to live through 
hardship and come out on the other side. 
"That was my sort of survival test as an 
artist, as a woman and a filmmaker, " she 
says. "If I could survive that and keep 
going, I could probably do anything." -k 



March 2005 I The Independent 33 



the Documentary Doctor 




Fernanda Rossi 



Dear Doc Doctor: 

I think I made the mistake of put- 
ting myself in my film as the inquisi- 
tive filmmaker — as a woman, I'm not 
sure if the role really suits me. What 
can be done at this stage to save the 
film? 

Changing major structural and cre- 
ative decisions once tlie film is shot is 
extremely challenging. Before you 
embark on the re-edit of your life, let's 
save you from cultural influences before 
we save the film. 

The "quest" or "essay" documentary 
genre has been re-popularized by films 
with men in the lead role, and not coin- 
cidentally, these are the films that have 
made it to the big screen. This is, howev- 
er, a cultural issue, not just a characteris- 
tic of documentary films. 

There seems to be a tacit consensus 
that men, and only men, can be the fight- 
ers, the conquistadores, inquirers, judges, 
and bearers of good and bad news alike. 



While women sit in the back re-charging 
the weapons and healing the wounded — 
in film terms, the associate producers 
who set up interviews and digitize all 
night. (Men readers, please forgive the 
generalization). 

Fortunately, many female documen- 
tarians have decided that it can be quite 
ladylike to shove a camera and micro- 
phone in someone's nose when necessary. 
We might not see these films at the local 
cineplex but they are out there at festivals 
and on networks and educational/out- 
reach circuits. From Judith Helfand in A 
Healthy Baby Girl (1997) and Blue Vinyl 
(2002), to Maggie Hadleigh-West in 
Warzone (1998), to the soon to be fin- 
ished Kelly Gallagher's Mercury in 
Retrograde (2004). 

On a more personal level, the quest 
documentary reduces its narrator to just 
one aspect: the inquirer, sometimes the 
angry pushy inquirer. A liberating experi- 
ence, but maybe not too glamorous to 
watch. Being a well-rounded person, see- 



34 The Independent I March 2005 



ing yourself reduced on the screen to just 
one part of your complex self can be 
painful to watch. 

Who better than Therese Shechter (/ 
Was a Teenage Feminist) to relate to 
women's struggles on and off the screen? 
"For a long time, I resisted being the lead 
character in my film," she says. "I 
thought: Who would want to see me on 
screen? Who would care about my own 
search for my lost feminism and the fem- 
inist movement? But I realized that my 
character could act as a surrogate for all 
the women out there who were asking 
the very same questions." 

I strongly believe in first instincts. If 
early on you felt you had to be in the film 
leading the narrative, I'm sure that is still 
so, and you simply need to adjust to your 
"screen self " And if you just can't get 
used to it, try thinking of the future gen- 
erations of female filmmakers who need 
your help to keep diversity of voices in 
the filmmaking business. 

Dear Doc Doctor: 

I always have problems getting the 
crew to do what I need them to do, 
when I need them to do it. Often I find 
myself yelling or being the unreason- 
able, crazy one on location. Can 
women in a position of power be 
heard? 

We all have seen in films, and maybe 
also in real life, some version of the tyran- 
nical director with beret, pipe, horse rid- 
ing pants, and a megaphone screaming 
orders to the stressed-out crew. That 
image never gained popularity among 
documentary filmmakers. For better or 



worse, crews are smaller, and interviewees 
don't respond well to personal questions 
being screamed through a megaphone. 

1 don't see the director — male or 
female, fiction or documentary — as the 
almighty powerful god of the set or loca- 
tion. I rather see him or her as the quiet 
skillful manager of people's creativity, 
including his/her own. A few screams 
and intimidating looks might get people 
moving, but it doesn't guarantee their tal- 
ent and creativity. 

When camera people and editors shuf- 
fle their feet, they are not challenging 
vour authorit)' for the sake of discrediting 
vou, but rather showing symptoms of 
discomfort. You want to be heard, and 
they want to be heard, too. Rather than 
raising your voice and becoming a part- 
time monster, search for the cause of 
rebellion. Something is wrong and you 
have to find out, because that dash of 
disobedience can ultimately be prohibit- 
ing you and your film. 

The New York Times bestseller Crucial 
Conversations by Kerry Patterson et al, 
explains in easy steps how to handle con- 
flict without resorting to the use of 
authorit)', which almost always backfires 
and snowballs into more conflict. 

In short, listen first and listen deeply, 
beyond the apparent cause. Acknowledge 
their position or argument. Explain how 
his or her attitude reads from your side. 
Find common ground and a common 
solution that suits both — "common" 
being the operative word. It might feel 
like compromising, but you will be sur- 
prised what happens when your crew has 
a chance to be part of the solution, -k 




www.aafilmfest.org 

TEL. 734 995 5356 
FAX. 734 995 5396 



March 2005 I The Independent 35 



Women on the Verge of 



a 



Breakout 



Four females from different backgrounds 
rise as indie stars 



B\ DAVID ALM 

In 1965 Claudine Auger landed rhe female lead in 
Thunderball, a James Bond film about — what else? — 
thwarting a brilliant, evil thug fi-om dominating the 
world. Just 24 at the time, and French, Auger made a 
perfect Bond girl: she was gorgeous. And realK', that was 
about it. Though Auger went on to play in dozens of other films 
(most ot them French), her tame probably peaked in 1958, 
when she was crowned Miss France. 

Maybe this is because Thunderball was a relative flop, or 
maybe it's because she wasn't a very good actor. Whate\'er the 
reason, Claudine Auger never became a household name — at 
least not in American households. 

Now consider the other women who auditioned tor the role: 
Julie Christie, Fa\'e Dunaway, and Raquel Welch — all roughly 
the same age as Auger. Among them, only Welch had made a 
name by that time, and she was actualK' hired tor the role. But 
she quit tor a part in another film. Why the other two were 
beaten out by someone ot such dubious talent may seem a mys- 
ter}'. After all, Christie and Dunawa)' have become icons of 
1960s and 70s independent film — known then, in homage to 
the French, as the American New Wave. 

Clearly, their talent didn't go unnoticed for long. The same 
year, Julie Christie achieved public and critical acclaim for her 
portrayal of Lara Antipova in Dr. Zhivago, and she won an 
Oscar for her role in John Schlesinger's Darling. Faye Dunaway 
continued auditioning until she was cast in Otto Premingers 
Hurry Sundown and Elliot SiKerstein's The Happening, both 
released in 1967. But it was her unforgettable portrayal of 
Bonnie Parker in Arthur Penns Bonnie and Clyde, also in 1967, 
that catapulted Dunaway into stardom. 

None of this was ine\'itable. Aside from their beaut)', these 
women share two additional characteristics: they can act, and their 
breakthroughs were thanks to independently minded directors 



willing to cast young women in tough, character-driven parts. 

Prior to the American New Wave, roles for women in 
American cinema were few and generic. There were the mater- 
nal, pillar-ot-\irtue roles, epitomized bv Doris Day and Julie 
Andrews; the subjugated protagonists ot so-called "women's 
films" and melodramas like Rebecca (1940) and All That Heaven 
Allows (1955); the conniving, sexually depraved femme fatales 
of film noir classics like Double Indemnity (1944) and The Big 
Sleep (1946). And let's not forget the vapid sex goddess, exem- 
plified par excellence by Marilyn Monroe. 

Fortunately, the film industry has since opened its doors to a 
wider range of talent — both in front of and behind the cam- 
era — than e\'er betore. As the art critic Rene Clair once said of 
the late painter, lean-Michel Basquiat: "No one wants to be part 
ot generation that ignores another Van Gogh." But this also 
means that we have to pay closer attention to a wider variety of 
films than ever before, lest we neglect to see stars that might be 
rising just out of sight. 

About ten years ago, a cadre of bold women actors stepped 
into the limelight after a series of middling roles on soap operas, 
TV shows, and minor feature films. Often portraying unglam- 
orous, unsexy, and unmotherly characters, they represented 
another shift in our perception of women on screen. Think of 
lulianne Moore in Robert .AJtman's Short Cuts (1993), playing 
an artist trapped in a d\'sfunctional marriage. She was 33 — too 
old to be ^^ollywood"s next It girl, but on the cusp of a phe- 
nomenal career nonetheless. Larry Clark's Kids (1995) debuted 
a 21 -year-old Chloe Sevigny as a casualt}' of teenage life in lower 
Manhattan during the early 1990s. Even Calista FlockJiart, 
though primarily known as the neurotic, lovelorn litigator Ally 



36 The Independent I March 2005 










McBeal, had her first major role at age 3 1 in Drunks, a poignant 
1995 film about a motley assortment of AA-ers exorcising their 
demons in a New York Cit)' church basement. 

Those women paved the way for a new group of women, pro- 
filed below, whose performances in four recent independent 
films could easily be such breakout work. In Everyday People, 
Bridget Barkan plays a young single mother working at a soon- 
to-close Brooklyn diner; Aunjanue Ellis plays the Harlem 
Renaissance poet Zora Neale Hurston in Brother to Brother, Vera 
Farmiga plays a working-poor single mom and drug addict in 
Down to the Bone; and Catalina Sandino Moreno plays a 
Colombian drug mule in Maria Full of Grace, for which she 
received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. 

It's both telling and refreshing that none of these women 
share any similarities beyond profession. Barkan, 24, is a tough, 
white New Yorker; Ellis is 33, black, and originally from 
Mississippi; Farmiga, 31, is of Ukrainian descent and has spent 
her life in the working class enclaves of New Jersey and Upstate 
New York; and Moreno, 23, comes from Colombia. Together, 



they indicate the industry s expanding horizons and suggest a bright 
future for other aspiring women actors who exist, in some way, out- 
side the traditional HolK-wood paradigm. 

In Everyday People, a heartfelt film from director Jim McKay about 
gentrification and the lives it adversely affects, Bridget Barkan plays 
Joleen, a reserved, serious young woman who's known her share of 
rough times. Though Everyday People is an ensemble piece, and 
Barkan is in just four or five scenes, those are the scenes that stick 
with you even weeks after seeing the movie. Her quiet, steady per- 
formance provides the bass in the film's narrative. 

But unlike Joleen, Bridget herself radiates an infectious, 
indomitable optimism. "There's always the moment where you can 
question if something is going to happen or not going to happen," 
she says of her career thus far. "But at the end of the day, those 
thoughts are only illusions of your mind. They're the doubt and the 
fear. They come from not knowing." 

Barkan started acting at nine months, when she posed as baby 
Jesus for a wall plaque. As a child, Barkan was cast in commercials for 
Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Pepsi. She studied film at 
Temple Universit)' in Philadelphia, but left after just two years to 



March 2005 I The Independent 37 




Aunjanue Ellis in Brother to Brother (Rodney Evans) 



revive her acring career in earnest — a decision her agent and her 
father both encouraged. And though she's had some trouble 
landing roles beyond the street-wise New York mom, that's a 
part she plays extremely well. McKay says that when she audi- 
tioned to play Joleen, she clicked instantly. 

Most recently Barkan realized her dream of working with 
Maggie Gyllenhaal on Laurie Collyer's forthcoming feature 
Shall Not Want. Again, she plays a maternal role, as the surro- 
gate mother to Gyllenhaal's baby. She's not complaining, but 
she's also hopeful for broader opportunities down the line. "You 
never know, and that's what's so exciting about life," she says 



with characteristic buoyancy. "You never 
know when something is going to hap- 
pen, but you know it's going to. " 

Some actors, like Barkan, have always 
known they wanted to act. Others arrive 
at the profession almost by chance. "1 was 
always a little bit, or more than a little 
bit, ot an activist," Aunjanue Ellis says. 
'Acting just kind of happened to me." 
Still, Ellis's pitch-perfect portrayal of 
Zora Neale Hurston indicates profound 
innate skill. She shines in the only signif- 
icant female role in Brother to Brother, 
Rodney Evans's debut feature about a 
young gay man's friendship with an eld- 
erly Bruce Nugent — the openly gay 
Harlem Renaissance poet — and Nugent's 
memories of that era. 

Ellis attended Tougaloo College in 
Mississippi before transferring to Brown, 
where she met Evans and began acting 
seriously. After graduating in the midst of 
a recession, she found that her liberal arts 
training made her "unmarketable" in the 
work world. So she went to grad school 
at the Tisch School for the Arts at NYU. 
"And before I finished grad school I got a 
job, and I just went on this journey of 
consistently getting roles for a few years," 
she says. 

That may sound easy, but Ellis is any- 
thing but arrogant about it. She describes 
her career as a utility, a means to pay the 
rent and her mother's mortgage. "She's a 
ver\' down to earth, very driven person 
who understands the complexity of 
everyday life, the texture of everyday 
life," says Evans, who determined to cast 
Ellis one day after seeing her in Ntozake 
Shange's play For Colored Girls Who've 
Considered Suicide When the Rainbow's 
Enuf during his sophomore year at 
Brown. 
Ellis, who's done stints in Los Angeles but lives in West 
Harlem, also sees acting as a chance to effect change: to be a 
positive role model for kids and to hopefully increase the oppor- 
tunities available to African Americans in the film industry. 
"Black people aren't just romantic and comedic," she says. 
"That's why I'm so excited about Rodney. I'm so happy for him, 
and I'm happy for him selfishly. Not because I think he'll hire 
me again, but because I want beautiful pieces of art to be in the 
market and for people to see those things. " 

Though Brother to Brother could be considered Ellis's break- 
out role, her recent performance as Mary Ann Fisher in Ray 



38 The Independent I March 2005 




Jhon Alex Toro and Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full of Grace 
(Christobal Corral Vega/HBO Films/Fine Line Features) 




Bridget Barkan in Everyday People (Jo Jo Whilden/HBO) 



(2004) might ultimately do more for her career. Brother to 
Brother fsMures superb performances by Ellis, Anthony Mackie, 
and Roger Robinson, and it's an impressive first-time effort for 
Evans. But the film's public appeal may be limited by its overt 
and occasionally explicit treatment of gay identities and subcul- 
tures. R^y, on the other hand, is decidedly more mainstream. 

Another actor who has sampled and foregone the Hollywood 
scene, Vera Farmiga brings an almost palpable realism to her 
work. Farmiga attended Syracuse University and now lives in 
Ulster County, a collection of industrial towns along the Hudson 
River that also provided the setting for Down to the Bone. 

A first-time feature from Debra Granik, Down to the Bone is 
based on the true stories of two recovering drug addicts. Granik 
employs a cinema verite st\'le to convey the harsh emotional and 
physical conditions born of poverty and drug addiction, and she 
couldn't have done better than Farmiga to carry the part. "When 
Vera showed up [to audition] she just ripped through the air, in 



terms of her desire for the role," Granik says. "It was literallv 
like a force that came gushing out of her." 

Farmiga plays Irene, a single mom in her early 30s who works 
at a grocery store, earning barely enough to support her two lit- 
tle boys and a longstanding cocaine habit. She hits bottom and 
enters a rehab clinic, where she falls in love with a male nurse 
there. Bob (Hugh Dillon), also a recovering addict. Before long, 
Irene and Bob find themselves on a slippery slope of codepen- 
dency and regress back to using. 

Farmiga is movie star-beautiful, while Irene is not. Nor is she 
ugly — she just looks the part. And Farmiga played her without 
a trace of self-consciousness. "She didn't ask for a makeup crew 
to come in and make her look more strung out, or more diffi- 
cult, or more depleted, " Granik says. "She just wanted ro work 
that herself — no gimmicks. " 

Finally, in Joshua Marston's first-time feature, Mnrin Full of 
Grace, Catalina Sandino Moreno stars as a desperate 17-year-old 
drug mule transporting a belly full of cocaine pellets from 
Bogota to New York. The film was already a hit among critics 
and at the major festivals, as well as a succe.ss with general audi- 
ences, grossing $6.5 million in US theaters due largely to 
Moreno's captivating, and indeed, graceful performance. 

Marston first saw Moreno in a play three years ago when he 
traveled to Bogota to cast his film. Moreno was then a college 
junior studying advertising. He called her shortly after and 
invited her to audition for the role, which she did with no prior 
film experience. Marston offered her the part the same day. 

"It was so scary to see the camera there and everybody wait- 
ing for me," Moreno says of her first day of shooting. But she 
also says her background in theater proved to be perfect train- 
ing for such an intimate role. "In theater you have to be there, 
and I think it was much easier for me not to imagine that I was 
an alien — to just interact with people directly." 

That may sound simplistic to anyone used to seeing inde- 
pendent films, but in Colombia, where the only films shown 
tend to be Hollvwood blockbusters, such a theatrical approach 
to acting .seems at odds with film acting. "I've always thought it 
would be very hard to act in sci-fi movies," she says. "And I 
thought all American movies were big Hollywood movies. But 
going to festivals and talking to people, I've realized that there's 
a big indie industry here, I mean, as important as the 
Holl\'wood industry." 

Like the character she plays, Moreno first came to New York 
in 2002, to shoot the film and decided to stay. Working "real" 
jobs to pay the rent — from ushering at the Public Theater to 
waiting tables in the East Village — she's getting another lesson 
in the American film business: it's tough. But thankfully, and 
now with an oscar nod on her resume, she also has no intention 
of leaving. 

Keep watch for these films in the coming year, their directors 
in the years to come, and especially for the futures of these four 
women. With any hope, their faces will become as known as 
Julie Christie's, Faye Dunaway's, and Julianne Moore's. And 
now is the time to pay attention. i^ 



March 2005 I The Independent 39 



Career 



BY ELIZABETH AXGELL 

In a spacious, light-filled, duplex loft near New York's 
Chinatown, Catherine Gund hves with her famiK 
and runs her nine-year-old documentary production 
company, Aubin Pictures. The apartment has few 
walls and almost no doors, and the space swirls \\'ith 
the detritus of its daily occupants: Gund; her partner, Bruce; 
a long-time Aubin Pictures employee, Angelina Sapienza; four 
children; a cat; and a lazy, sweet-faced dog. Children's coats 
and shoes, colorful rain boots and diminuti\e bicycles are 
lined up in the entrpvay. A small riot of toys dominates the 
li\ing room. Family snapshots are ever\'where, tacked to the 
refrigerator in the open-plan kitchen, to the walls of Gund s 
office, and to the mirror in the bathroom. Gund is a self- 
described "neat person, but it is clear that no amount ol" 
effort could contain all that goes on in this apartment. So she 
offers up her home as an apt metaphor tor Aubin and her m\r- 
iad other projects: e\'erything is connected, and no activit}' or 
role can be isolated from another. "[\W work] is like this 
house, this workspace, she says. "Its all interrelated. " 

Gund's resume includes a dizzying array of pursuits. She is 
a director, a producer, a sometime camerawoman and editor, a 
feminist, a philanthropist, an AIDS activist, and an ad\isor to 
countless people interested in any of these topics. Her descrip- 
tion of any single project close to her heart inevitably leads 
into another. Aubin's next release, a film about a teacher called 
Touch of Greatness, reminds Gund of her children's progressive 
public school down the street, which reminds her of her early 
work producing public-access television shows that decon- 
structed the media, which reminds her ot something her 



daughter once said about a Cheerios commercial. And so on. 

When pushed to list her professional titles in their preferred 
order, Gund chooses filmmaker, then media activist, then 
donor organizer. "And always and fore\'er a mom," she says. 

This list is deceptively straightforward. For Gund, each title 
represents an umbrella of activities. Filmmaking is collabora- 
tive and allows her to work with different people on every 
aspect ot making a film. Media acti^•ism "covers so many 
bases," she says, "watching media critically and teaching criti- 
cal thinking, making media and supporting media projects 
which challenge the mainstream." She chooses "donor organ- 
izer because it encompasses not only her own philanthropy 
but her work as a mentor to young people who wish to have 
an impact, either financially or through volunteer work. 

Several colleagues noted Gunds abilit)" to mo\e easil\- in 
and out of different roles. "Catherine is extremely articulate 
and very kno\\ledgeable," says Scot Nakagawa, an old friend 
who worked \\ ith Gund on When Democracy Works (1996), an 
educational \'ideo about several radical, right-wing initiatives 
that affected elections in the mid 1990s. "She is a good listen- 
er, and she has this ability' to quickl)' assimilate new informa- 
tion. She has a sort of chameleon-like qualit)- to her." 

Gund began her film career in the late 1980s as an AIDS 
acti\ist, making documentaries for ACT UP and using her 
videos for outreach and awareness in hospitals and with com- 
munity groups. She spent the 1990s making a series of short 
films that explored gender and sexualit)', and she wrote exten- 
sively about feminism, class, and lesbian issues. She was deeply 
concerned with the growing influence ol the conservative 
mo\'ement, and she remains committed to progressive causes 
and to discussing difficult topics like money and sex. 

"The dominant socien' paints such a prosperous picture of 
people living in this country," she wrote in one essay, "[and] it 
can perpetuate the wholh' inaccurate image ol this as a class- 
less societ)'. We have bought in, so to speak: most everyone, it 
seems, will define herself as middle class. That is, until she 
starts talking specifically about the parameters and experiences 
of her lile. Then everyone has a story. These are the voices, the 
stories, the dialogues that could create change. 



40 The Independent I March 2005 



Collision 

Catherine Gund's dizzying array of pursuits include 
filnnmaker, activist, and donor — in that order 




Filmmaker Catherine Gund (Judith Haleck) 



Her interest in "stories" eventu- 
ally lead Gund to full-length doc- 
umentaries. In 1996 and 1997, 
she directed and produced 
Hallelujah! Ron At hey: A Story of 
Delii'enifue, a film about a contro- 
versial performance artist. Atheys 
work explored religion, sexuality, 
and violence, and the HIV-posi- 
tive artist gained notoriety for the 

sometimes extreme self-mutilation he practiced during his her political convictions. In 2000, Aubin released On Hostile 
performances. Athey garnered nationwide attention when Ground, a film that Gund produced about three embattled 
right-wing activists and politicians launched an attack on the abortion providers and the ongoing assault on Roe v. Wade. 
National Endowment for the Arts, which had lunded the And this year, the company will release two films, A Touch of 
Walker Arts Center, where he performed in 1994. Gund set Greatness dind Making Grace, which was directed by Gund. 
about making Atheys work accessible to a hir wider range of "At Aubin, we focus on whatever's timely, whatever is going 

people than the few who had been in his audience. The film, on in the world," says Sapienza, who has worked with Gund 
which won a Silver Jury Prize tor documentaries at the at Aubin since 2000. "We try to stay in the world, and we try 
Chicago Underground Film Festival and was included in one to be involved in every part of the process, from distribution 
critic's contribution to The Village Voices Top Ten Films of to doing outreach and making the film an activist tool." 
1998, allowed Gund to transition from activist to full-blown A Touch of Greatness, a film by Leslie Sullivan, profiles 

documentary filmmaker. Albert Cullum, an elementary school teacher who used poetry 

Gund formed Aubin Pictures in 1996 to produce and dis- and drama to work with students in unconventional ways. The 
tribute documentaries that would "promote cultural and social film includes lovely footage of Cullum and his students in the 
awareness and change." Despite her interest in reaching a early 1960s, recorded by Robert Downey, Sr. On its surface, 
wider audience, she remains attracted to projects that reflect the film is an uplifting portrait of a dedicated teacher. But 



March 2005 I The Independent 41 




Ann Krsul (left), Leslie Sullivan (right) and their daughter Grace Ann 
Emerson Krsul-Sullivan (John Krsul) 

Guild points our tliat she saw something more in Cullum's 
dedication to inspiring students: a commirmenr ro each child s 
individuahty. Cullum adamantly rejects the lowered expecta- 
tions that characterized so much of public education, and 
Gund hopes the film will illuminate the debate over the best 
way to educate children today. (The film won Best 
Documentary at the Hamptons International Film Festival 
and the Peoples Choice Award at the Starz Denver 
International Film Festival, and it premiered on PBS in 
January.) 

Gund's own film. Making Grace, is a portrait of a lesbian 
couple and the first child they have together. She followed 
Ann Krsul and Sullivan (director of A Touch of Greatness) as 
they chose an anonymous sperm donor, went through the gru- 
eling process of insemination and the hormonal joys ol preg- 
nancy, and faced the occasional difficulties of being a lesbian 
couple in straight society. 

Gund had strong political and personal feelings on the sub- 
ject — she came out in college (eventually returning to a het- 
erosexual relationship) and shares custody of her first three 
children with a woman who was her long-time partner — but 
she wanted to make a verite film that would reveal a story, not 
a polemic. "I really like documentary because it takes a story 
and tells it in a language that people can understand," Gund 
says. "It's recognizable, it touches on our basic humanity. I 
know [nonfiction films are] subjective — I believe we tell the 
story that we want to tell. But that story takes place in a rec- 
ognizable space." [Making Grace, distributed by First Run 



Features, will be released theatrically in June, and will be avail- 
able on DVD on their website: www.firstrunfeatures.com.) 

Gund's populist leanings may come as a surprise to anyone 
who recognizes her family name. She is a member of a clan 
famous for its wealth and philanthropic generosity — not a 
background in which one would expect to find someone who 
advocates so openly for social change and even, in her own 
words, "revolution. " But Gund credits her mother, Agnes 
Gund, for talking about lefty issues and for supporting her 
unconditionally as a child. 

Aggie, as Catherine calls her, is a legendary art collector and 
sponsor of the arts who served as president of the board of the 
Museum of Modern Art for many years. Her mother also gave 
to many progressive causes, and in the 1970s, when public 
school budgets were being gutted and art programs eliminat- 
ed, she created Studio in a School. The pioneering nonprofit 
helped to place artists in hundreds of public schools, after- 
school programs, and homeless shelters across New York City. 
She also supported ACT UP before Catherine had even heard 
of the group. Many of Agnes Gund's friends in the art world 
died of AIDS, and Catherine remembers her mother mourn- 
ing them all. 

"My mother is a wonderful example of someone who prior- 
itizes people over anything else," Gund says. 

Catherine was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and Greenwich, 
Connecticut, and though these were conservative communi- 
ties, she says that she and her siblings were encouraged to be 
creative and outspoken. "[My siblings and I] inherited securi- 
ty and safety from our skin, and our class," she wrote in a 
1996 essay called "Lucky." "Being a political activist, an artist, 
and an out lesbian were all things that wouldn't, (and didn't), 
topple my world or my parents' world, wouldn't compromise 
my safety or my abilit}' to succeed. That's how it was in my 
rich family. " 

Gund's mother may have nurtured her daughter's artistic 
instincts, but it was at Brown University that Catherine 
embraced the politics that still inform her work. Gund entered 
Brown in 1983, at a time when the school was at its acti\-ist 



42 The Independent I March 2005 




Catherine Gund and her children (L-R) Sadie, Kofi, Tenzin, and Rio (Bruce Morrow) 



heyday. She was involved in myriad social causes: South African 
divestment, nuclear proliferation issues, the school's "third 
world" center, and protesting the American involvement in El 
Salvador. She eventually spent a semester at UC Santa Cruz, 
and graduated in 1988 after five years. "Nobody went in less 
than five years," she says with a laugh. "It just took you so long 
because you were so busy protesting everything." 

Gund had learned early that her family had money and that 
it came with unique responsibilities and obligations. She is the 
first member oi her generation to serve on the board ot 
the George Gund Foundation. That foundation, which gave 
away almost $28 million in 2004, was established by her 
grandfather in Cleveland, where the Gunds made their money 
in banking. 



Gund says that she decided early that she never wanted to 
make a contribution to something out of guilt, only out of 
conviction. She married these instincts with the activism she 
had embraced at Brown. In 1993, she co-founded the Third 
Wave Foundation, a group which funded feminist issues and 
works with women between the ages of 1 5 and 35. She has also 
been part of several organizations that promote giving within 
groups not usually associated with philanthropy, from women 
and people of color to young adults and gay and lesbian men 
and women. 

"I want my money to effect a more just society," Gund 
wrote in "Lucky." It is a sentiment that has surely guided 
Aubin Pictures as well, "k 



March 2005 I The Independent 43 



Woman, 
Thou Art Loosed 

Kimberly Elise stars in what might be the first gospel film 




Kimberly Elise as Michelle in Woman, Thou Art Loosed {MaqnoWa Pictures) 

BY AMY ALEXANDER 

Is America ready for gospel cinema? Independent producer Reuben Cannon thinks so. The 
former veteran casting director sees a vast, untapped audience similar to that which 
propelled Mel Gibson's 2004 religious epic The Passion of the Christ to a multi-million dol- 
lar success. Except in Cannon's version, the untapped audience is made up of several million 
black Americans from across the economic strata — a "core audience, " Cannon suggests, who 
are socially conservative and woefully under-ser\'ed at the local cineplex. 

"The expression ot black life in American cinema has been ver\- narrow," Cannon says. "That's 
why people are responding to Woman, Thou Art Loosed — it's so rare that you see the full com- 
plexities of black lite up on the screen." 

Woman, Thou Art Loosed, which opened in a limited theatrical release last September, is the story 
of a young black Los Angeles woman, played by Kimberly Elise [Beloved), who struggles to get her 
life on track following childhood sexual abuse. The film drew mixed-to-good reviews tor its por- 
trayal of a subject that is certainly complicated, untidy, and raw. Some critics, though, understood 
the significance of its healing potential: "By mixing the dramatic and the realistic, Womati, Thou 



44 The Independent I March 2005 




Kimberly Elise as Helen McCarter and Tyler Perry as Brian in Diary of a Mad Black Woman (Alfeo Dixon) 



Art Loosed offers a therapeutic metaphor and does so with 
a sense of familiarit}'," wrote Africana.com film critic 
Armond White. 

Like Antwone Fisher \n 2002 — which starred and marked 
the directorial debut of Denzel Washington — Woman, 
Thou Art Loosed is a milestone in the history of American 
cinema: a relatively mainstream major motion picture that 
takes an unflinching look at the emotional and psychologi- 
cal state ot its black characters. Starring alongside Elise and 
veteran black actors Loretta Devine, Clifton Powell, and 
Debbi Morgan, is a contemporary figure familiar to mil- 
lions of black Americans but unknown to much of 
HolK'wood — an African American Christian minister and 
entrepreneur named Bishop T.D. Jakes. 

Playing a version of himself in Wortiau, Jakes makes a 



startlingly vivid presence, and if perhaps he seems more natural 
than other actors in the film it's because his best-selling self-help 
books served as the basis for Woman's screenplay, penned by 
Stan Foster. Bishop Jakes, who oversees a large Dallas-based 
ministry, was first approached by Cannon in 2002 with the idea 
of turning Jakes's books — including his Woman, Thou Art 
Loosed — into a major motion picture. As Jakes has said in inter- 
views following the initial release of Woman, he knew he want- 
ed to write about the troubling subject of sexual abuse in the 
black community after spending years ministering to women 
who were emotionally damaged by the experience. The books 
and now the film are designed to encourage "healing" and "for- 
giveness, " Jakes told BlackAmericaWeb in September: "It's not 
just divine forgiveness, which is part of the message. But also, it 
deals with the struggle that we have to forgive people who have 



March 2005 I The Independent 45 



done things to us, and how you're never really free until you 
forgive people who ha\'e nushandled you," Jakes said. 

For Cannon, Jakes's message oi healing and forgiveness pre- 
sented a unique challenge: Would it he possible to fashion a 
work of cinematic entertainment from such a difficult subject? 
And if so, would enough people be willing to pay to see a film 
concerning this bleak part of American life? 

The answer came after Cannon attended a large-scale 2002 
revival meeting held by Jakes in Houston. "There were literally 
thousands oi people in that hail, I mean something like sixty 
thousand people there," Cannon says. "And once I felt the ener- 
gy in that audience and saw how Jakes was able to encourage 
hundreds of women to get up and basically admit that they'd 
been sexuallv abused, I knew there was something there, some- 
thing larger than just what was happening in that room." 

For his part, Cannon, an active member of West Angeles 
Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles, where the revival 
scenes in Woman were filmed, had been interested in tapping 
into church-going black audiences even earlier than 2002. In 
cities and towns across America, plays by black writers like 
Tyler Perry {Madea's Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married) 
have for decades been drawing millions of mostly black audi- 
ences to legitimate theaters. Sometimes dubbed the "chitlin cir- 
cuit" of the theater world, these plays are morality tales, filled 
with melodramatic accounts of cheating husbands, drug- 
addicted young adults, and women on the edge. According to 
Cannon, they represent a parallel universe to the mainstream 
entertainment world, but also indicate a healthy audience of 
black Americans who are starved for message-laden entertain- 
ment. 

"These plays are off the radar of mainstream Hollywood, but 
they make millions of dollars every year," Cannon says. Indeed, 
in February, Lion's Gate released the second of what Cannon is 
calling his gospel cinema catalog. Diary of a Mad Black Woman, 
which again stars KimberK' Elise, along with Cicely Tyson, and, 
in the role of an older black woman character, Tyler Perry, who 
also adapted his play for the film version. 

With the relative success of Woman, Thou Art Loosed (it was 
originally conceived as a DVD-only release). Cannon believes 
he has a good shot at establishing gospel cinema as a legitimate 
sub genre of the major motion picture world. Woman, Thou Art 
Loosed vj2lS produced for about S3. 5 million, much of it raised 
from individual celebrity investors including Danny Glover, 
Cedric the Entertainer, and Oprah Winfrey. It was shot on dig- 
ital but has the look of a traditional big-budget picture. 
Director Michael Schultz, whose film credits include the mod- 
ern classics Cooley High (1975) and Car Wash (1976), shot 
Woman Thou Art Loosed\x\ 12 days. The film has grossed almost 
$7 million at the box office and Cannon expects strong returns 
after the DVD is released this month. "We earned back all the 
investors' money, which you have to do if you want to keep 
going as an independent," Cannon says. It helped that Winfrey 
featured the film on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last October. 
Cannon recognizes that Woman has received its share of more 




Debbie Morgan and Kimberly Elise in Woman, Thou Art Loosed 
(Magnolia Pictures) 



than average backing. "This film does have difficult subject 
matter, but it has been blessed — anointed, you might say." 

As an independent filmmaker, Cannon said he has to be as 
concerned with the business end of his movies as much as the 
creative end. And, while the message of Woman, Thou Art Loosed 
undoubtedly helped convince investors to contribute financially, 
Cannon maintains that it's his track record as a producer whose 
films usually earn back their investment that made Woman 
possible in the end. "You can't approach people and ask for 
money if you don't believe you can return their investment,"' 
Cannon says. "It's my job to make sure that the three major com- 
ponents of the project are going to come together before we even 
get started: the budget, the script, and the cast. Somehow, those 
three stars have to line up, and in this case, they did." 

The future success of Cannon's gospel cinema, then, rests 
with his core audience theory: "It's those millions of black 
church ladies," Cannon says. "They are out there, and I have 
faith that they will want to see these movies." If one examines 
the pallid history of films concerning black life in America, it 
might seem that Cannon has a prett)' good shot at making a go 
of gospel cinema. 

The fact that millions of black Americans represent 1 1 per- 
cent of movie-going Americans today (compared with 1 5 per- 
cent for Hispanic attendance and 68 percent for White), most 



46 The Independent I March 2005 




Kimberly Elise (left), Daniel Smith (middle) and Denzel Washington (right) in the 2002 
film John Q(New Line Cinema) 



filmmakers agree that offering films that appeal to black 
Americans makes good business sense. And, following several 
box office successes in the 1980s and 1990s by black directors 
like Spike Lee, John Singleton, and F. Gary Gray, it is clear that 
a market exists for films by and about African Americans. Yet, 
there remain huge swaths of the black population — working to 
middle-class, church-going black folks — whose experiences and 
beliefs rarely turn up on the big screen. Cannon, who left 
Chicago as a 17-year-old high school graduate with dreams ot 
working in the movie industry, is uniquely qualified to tap into 
that overlooked audience. 

Cannon, whose producing credits include Get on the Bus 
(1996), directed by Spike Lee, and author Maya Angelou's 1998 
directorial debut Down in the Delta, acknowledges that his task 
is difficult and the road facing any black filmmaker seeking true 
independence, long. If the business of making films is intricate, 
complex, and to a large degree perilous to filmmakers whatever 
their skin color, it is doubly so for black directors and produc- 
ers. At the same time, Cannon says, the groundwork continues 
to be laid for more films like Woman, Thou Art Loosed ind new 
expressions of black lite on the big screen. Indeed, after starting 
out in the mailroom at Universal Pictures back in the early 
1970s and working his way up to becoming one of HolK'wood's 
most respected casting directors. Cannon has personally helped 
guide the careers of a new generation of black 
filmmakers, including John Singleton. 




In Woman, Thou Art Loosed, Kimberly Elise plays a woman struggling to 
get her life on track after childhood sexual abuse 
(Magnolia Pictures) 



"Hollywood isn't going to change, so it's up to us to try to 
take control of our own images in movies," Cannon says. "For 
years, it was easy to complain about what wasn't being shown of 
black life, to spend energy on the fact that the film community 
just couldn't seem to get it right. But, 1 say, it's on us now. We 
shouldn't have the expectation that someone else is going to tell 
our stories. We have to have the courage of our convictions." "^ 



March 2005 I The Independent 47 




(L-R) Paul Dano (Thaddeus), Ryan Mcdonald (Rodney), and Catherine Keener (Kathleen) in a scene from The Ballad 
of Jack and Rose (IFC Films) 

Rebecca Miller's lives out (and films) her dreams 

BY RICK HARRISON 



Rebecca Miller needs to recharge. Well, her phone at least. 

Plugged into an ancient socket behind me and perched on a 
cafe table supporting a plate of hummus and a soy-milk coffee, 
the little bugger buzzes in its charger twice, prompting Miller to 
twice interrupt an already brief conversation with whispered 
instructions to her husband — concerning AOL icons and D\'D 
rewritable disks in desk drawers — that she smiles off with 
throaty and playful exasperation. 

"My husband doesn't use computers," she says. "He types in 
longhand." 

You wont read an article about writer-director Rebecca 
Miller that doesn't mention her husband of eight years, actor 
Daniel Day-Lewis, the famously intense, reclusive, enigmatic 
and elusive prize of world-renown starlets and with \\hom 
Miller shares two children and homes in Ireland and 
Manhattan's Greenwich \'illage — not tar from where we are 
chatting. 

Or, no matter how wilv or exhaustive the search, vou cer- 



tain!)' wont find an article that omits mention of her father, 
Arthur Miller, America's greatest living plaN-wright — a distinc- 
tion no less exalted because of his 89 years and declining health. 

And then, so these articles invariably go, they'll be a bit about 
how Rebecca Miller was born in 1962, a month after the death 
of her father's second wife, Marilyn Monroe. How she lived the 
first four years of her life at New York's Chelsea Hotel — with 
sometime neighbors like Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Norman 
Mailer — and spent her more formative years on a 350-acre farm 
in tony Roxbun*', Connecticut, where French photographer 
Henri Cartier-Bresson might read to her beside a pond. 
(Rebecca's mother, who died in 2002, was Magiium photogra- 
pher Inge Morath, who met Arthur on the set of The Misfits, a 
film he wrote for Monroe and which would be her last.) 

All this celebrir)'-worshiping gossip amounts to nothing. It's 
tawdry, superficial, and completely irrelevant, for the most part. 
Its also endlessly fascinating (admit it). And you'd really be 
trudging over dusty, pockmarked terrain if you were to further 



48 The Independent I March 2005 



peruse these indulgent, pop-psychoanalyzing stories of which I 
speak, and point out certain curiosities in the burgeoning oeu- 
vre of Rebecca Miller. 

Like: how her new film, The Ballad of Jack and Rose (out this 
month) portrays the relationship between a loving, but overly 
idealistic, obsessive father and his attractive, sheltered pubescent 
daughter; how her second film's second act showcases the rela- 
tionship between an ambitious young woman's struggle to live 
up to the judgments of her famous and imperious father; how 
she recently adapted for film Proof, a play about a daughter 
struggling with her father, a brilliant math professor losing his 
grip on realit}'; and how her first film {Angela, 1995) depicts a 
platinum blonde, breathy, one-time starlet struggling with bipo- 
lar disorder and sporting — during one memorable break- 
down — a very Marilyn, white, plunging halter top. 

But then this isn't original. Or truly beguiling. And it doesn't 
take more than a quick meeting with Rebecca Miller to deter- 
mine that she is both. 

Miller's protective air of mystery, though perhaps just endear- 
ing social awkwardness and a natural defense against journalis- 
tic vultures, might be her greatest asset. Concerning Proof 
David Auburn's award-winning play set for a 2005 release 
directed b\' John Madden and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and 
Anthony Hopkins, Miller speaks ot the challenge of not creat- 
ing character but trying to adapt a form and get in the head of 
another writer. "I telt 1 understood the relationship," she says of 
the father-daughter pair the film depicts, "as someone who has 
a close relationship with my father — who has a powerful figure 
as a dad." But, as though conditioned not to stray too close to 
an invisible, electrified fence that her publicit)' people erect with 
most journalists, she warns of this and all other amateur head- 
shrinking. "It's important to be careful someone doesn't become 
a shoddy detective and make assumptions," she says. 

Miller is dressed in a loose, gray, fuzzy shirt that must feel like 
hugging a 12-year-old Scottish terrier. Adornments include a 
purple cowboy neckerchief small loop earrings, and a large, sil- 
ver man's watch on her left wrist that she buries in a shirt sleeve 




Catherine Keener (Kathleen) and Daniel Day-Lewis (Jack) in The 
Ballad of Jack and Rose (N\CQ\e Rivelli) 



when 1 glance at it. Her vibrant blue eyes invite nothing but 
assumptions. 

A striking unadorned beauty, Miller has acted opposite 
Harrison Ford {Regarding Henry, 1991) and Kevin Spacey 
{Consenting Adults, 1992) as a way to snoop around sets run by 
HolK-wood legends (Alan J. Pakula, Carroll Ballard, Mike 
Nichols) and educate herself about filmmaking. She appears in 
a production feature on the DVD of her Sundance Grand Jur\' 
Prize-winning film Personal Velocity (2002) as a natural-faced 
frump with wavy, grizzled, almost charcoal gray hair and baggy 
clothes, directing her cast and crew with earthy charm — like a 
woman who doesn't give a damn how she looks. 

In a way, this subservience to her work helps explain her curi- 
ous allure while hinting at even greater curiosities. She's actual- 
ly completely forthcoming about personal and somewhat 
embarrassing admissions so long as they relate to her creative 
life — really the only life she's ever known. 

Asked if it was inevitable that a child of artistic parents would 
develop an artistic career. Miller says: "I couldnt do anything 
else. I really couldn't do anything else. Like athletes get trained 
really early, I think I was training from a really early age. " 

As a child, Miller has admitted, she engaged in magical 
thinking, ascribing meaning to everyday events and finding 
signs of good and evil everywhere she looked. In her bedroom 
in Roxbury, which was outfitted with a golden shag carpet, a 
white furr)' bedspread with a netted back to it, flowered drapes, 
and pink walls, an 8-year-old Rebecca wrote a series of stories 
about a squirrel named Flemming and feared that Satan was liv- 
ing in her basement. She wouldn't dare venture down there until 
she was 10, and soon after, though her Jewish father and 
Protestant mother weren't religious, she petitioned them to let 
her be baptized as a Christian. 

If any of this sounds familiar, you likely have seen Angela, 



March 2005 I The Independent 49 




Director Rebecca Miller on Prince Edward Island filming T/re Ballad of Jack and Rose {\fC Films) 



reached an emotional crisis and 
form a circle of their toys 
beyond which they cannot step 
until The Virgin Man,' appears, 
the young actors got so worked 
up and expectant, that they 
asked Miller what they should 
do if she did arrive. 

Not surprisingly. Miller's 
paintings were inspired by 
dreams. But at an artist colony 
in Germany in 1985, she real- 
ized that she wanted them to do 
more. "I realized that I wanted 
to make films," she says. "It was 
kind of heartbreaking because I 
didn t know how to make films. 
But 1 was painting from 
dreams, and I realized I wanted 
my dreams to move. " 

She also recognized the 
inconvenient snag of her 
epiphany. "I was totally imprac- 
tical about it," she says. "If I 
had known how difficult it was 
to get financing, I probably 
Miller's first feature film, for which she won the Filmmaker's would have just gone to bed and forgotten about it." 
Trophy at Sundance in 1995. The film's titular protagonist But she went to New York instead, where her father's agent, 

(Miranda Stuart Rhyne) at first tries to scare her younger sister Sam Cohn, helped line up acting auditions so she could best 
(Charlotte Eve BKthe) with stories of Lucifer in the basement learn her craft. In 1985, she took a summer film class at The 
but then develops a series of increasingly bizarre rituals to form New School of Social Research where she became "a pet" of 
an elaborate belief system of guilt and punishment that she then 92-year-old professor Arnold Eagle, who let Miller use his 
hopes will cure her mother's disaffection and sadness. It doesn't editing equipment to make short experimental films. "He rec- 
end well. ognized something in me," she says. "He called me 'an inventor' 

But Miller's life takes a less tragic trajector)', attending church because he couldn't think of a better way to describe these little 
regularly with Catholic neighbors and arriving at Yale films I was making." 

University in 1980 to study painting. At school, she has said. In baby steps toward feature film, she had already been exper- 

she was still prone to some compulsive behavior, forcing herself imenting with painted sculptures that incorporated video. She 
to answer the phone before anyone else in the dorm suite for made one that John Malkovich bought which had a video loop 
fear of dying before she reached 36, occasionally bolting from of a woman dancing in slow motion half-naked on a beach with 
the shower to do so. her head wrapped in cheese cloth and a gauze tutu. That woman 

While such obsessive-compulsive behavior might hold some was her friend Barbara Browning, now a professor of perform- 
people back. Miller sur\'ived and channeled her experience artis- ing arts at New York Universirv', who explains: "I am a very 
tically, coaxing preternatural performances from the voung docile friend. I'll do anything. " 

actors in Angela. As she explains on the films DVD commen- Another dream inspired a short film featuring Browning and 

tary track, she rehearsed Miranda and Charlotte partly by walk- another Yale friend, writer Naomi Wolf in which the nvo 
ing around the film's upstate New York town, observing people, women sat naked and holding swaddled babies on two seats 
pointing out good angels and bad angels, looking for signs, dangling from an elaborate crane that dipped them into buck- 
making sure the children knew they were only playing a game. ets of milk. 

This led to a pair of eerie, convincing performances, the seduc- "She wasnt telling stories yet," Browning says. "I think mov- 

tive power of which is t\'pified by the commentary track revela- ing to first film as a medium, and then narrative, had to be a 
tion that prior to shooting a scene in which the sisters have slow process. She was dealing with a pretty heaw legac)' on both 



50 The Independent I March 2005 




Camilla Belle (Rose Slavin) in The Ballad of Jack and Rose 
(IPC Films) 



sides. Her mother was a brilliant photographer, so to use film 
was already over-determined. And then there was her dad, so 
you can see what writing a script meant. But she kept moving 
in that direction, which I think was the right one. Her films 
are all still very painterly." 

Aher the limited attention Angela received, Miller wrote a 
collection of short stories called Personal Velocity published in 
2001 from which she would select three to form the basis of 
the film by the same name. Her spare, observant writing, ear 
for dialogue and ingratiating wit resemble Nora Ephrons bit- 
ing, neo-feminist Esquire and New York magazine essays with- 
out the belly laughs. 

The film features intense, discrete, idiosyncratic perform- 
ances that resonate with wondrous attention to detail. Kyra 
Sedgwick plays an abused mother whose wonderfully large 
mouth flattens into a pancake of scorn while she masturbates 
a callow young man in an act of assertive defiance. Parker 
Posey melts unfortunate hearts (like mine) with her adorably 
ambitious daddy's girl who has serious daddy issues. Too smart 
for her own good, occasionally confident and cruel, though 
insecure at heart, she tells her whole story with a single gesture 
as she impulsively clutches her sweet, gumption-deficient hus- 
band's shoulder, and with a grimace and a pregnant stare, 
averts her eyes to hide a quickly dawning realization that she 
will leave him. And Fairuza Balk does that thing that Fairuza 
Balk does to make her manic confusion and dangerous naivete 
seem like a free spirit chained down by circumstances. 



And now comes The Ballad of Jack and Rose. Quirky and 
tragic — maybe not as bouncy or snide as "The Ballad of John 
and Yoko " — but filled with riveting, warm, and often volatile 
performances by Day-Lewis, Catherine Keener, and relative 
newcomer Camilla Belle. 

Miller wrote the film in 33 drafts over 10 years, filming in 
sequence with her longtime cinematographer Ellen Kuras 
{Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Summer of Sam) during 
the summer of 2003 on Prince Edward Island off the coast of 
Canada. 

The story centers on Jack (Day-Lewis), a flawed Utopian 
raising his 16-year-old daughter Rose (Belle) alone on a tailed 
island commune. Faced with his own deteriorating health, he 
struggles to prepare his innocent daughter tor a lite without 
him, and she begins a forced coming-of-age that she had 
hoped would never come. 

Belle and Day-Lewis built the dining room table of their 
characters' grass-covered Scottish iron-Age home, which Day- 
Lewis also had a hand in constructing, as part of a dedicated 
hands-on preparation that is his wont when immersing him- 
self in a role. 

"I was thankful he wasn't Bill the Butcher and 1 was his 
enemy," Belle says with a chuckle. "He was playing my tather 
and we had a great relationship. He was the character and I 
became Rose as well." 

Miller actually pitched Day-Lewis the role through his 
agent before they eventually met at a screening ot Arthur 
Miller's The Crucible (1996), the film adaptation he starred in 
and that spurred him to remark at the time: "There's some- 
thing about Arthur that makes you wish he was your father. 
I'd like to turn up on his doorstep with adoption papers. " 

The couple's own, actual children, Ronan, 6, and Cashel, 2, 
were on the set, joining the cast and crew for lunch and din- 
ner and shifting Miller into what Belle calls "mommy mode." 

"She is charmingly trazzled," Browning says of the balance 
Miller achieves between mother and film director. "She can 
seem extremely flaky and disorganized, but when she's work- 
ing on a film she becomes shockingly authoritati\e and has no 
trouble laying down the law. She's actually very lovable with 
her crew, trom what I can see. They all get very close, but she s 
definitely in charge. " 

It's mommy mode that drains most of Miller's energy these 
days. Spent from the children, the holiday shopping, an ailing 
father, and catering to the intrusive curiosity of an intrigued 
but unsatisfied magazine writer (with another one waiting for 
her outside in the downtown December New York cold), it's 
no wonder she can smile at all. But she often does. 

"At this moment, I'm completely filled up with what I'm 
doing," she says. 

And the rest, like a scarfed-down celebrit)' tabloid meal, 
leaves indigestion and almost immediate pangs for more — an 
emptv' guess. ^ 



March 2005 I The Independent 51 



ON THE SCENE 



Scenarios USA 

The Real Dea 




Scenarios USA 2004 writers and directors at the December premiere of their films (Scenarios USA) 



By Lindsay Gelfand 

Sex Ed isn't just your g\'m teacher and that tallopian tube dia- 
gram anymore. 

December 8, high school students and adults alike filled the 
screening room of the Tribeca Grand Hotel in lower Manhattan 
to view what Salon.com has deemed "the hippest, best-edited, 
most entertaining sex education videos ever made." The event 
was the Fifth Annual Real Deal World Premiere and Awards cer- 
emony, sponsored by the New York-based nonprofit organiza- 
tion. Scenarios USA. 



As in years past, the winning writers and their scripts were 
selected from hundreds of applicants and paired with well- 
known filmmakers and professional crews w^ho produced short 
films that screened at film festivals, conferences, schools, com- 
munit}' groups, and teen programs across the country. 

"When kids see something written by their peers, it speaks 
directly to them," says Scenarios co-founder Maura Minsky. 
"They feel it reflects their lives." 

In the summer of 2003, filmmaker Ben Younger {Boiler 



52 The Independent I March 2005 



Room, Prime) joined up with writers Laura Coria, 17; Juan 
Carlos Ramirez; 17, Amanda Ramirez, 17; Gladys Sanchez, 19; 
and Kristal Villarreal, 18; in their hometown of Mission, Texas 
to workshop and shoot their winning script. Toothpaste. 
Originally written as part of an assignment lor English class, 
Toothpaste follows best friends Jennifer and Christina as they 
make crucial decisions about sex and its responsibilities. 

The film is a direct response to the high teen pregnancy rate 
in Mission, which lies on the Texas-Mexico border. The writers 
acknowledge that Toothpaste doesnz give any single answers, but 
rather, seeks to raise important questions. The film's open end- 
ing allows teen viewers to leave with their own individual choic- 
es in mind — those that are best for them. Younger said he was 
impressed with the drama's realistic dialogue and treatment of 
universal teenage concerns. "[Coria, Ramirez, and Sanchez] 
have their finger on the pulse of what most kids are feeling," he 
said. 

The film's touchy subject spawned opposition from Mission's 
local church, and the high school's administration requested 
additional editing belore screening. But Ramirez makes it clear 
that the film's purpose is to show, and not shy away Irom, the 
serious, real-life consequences of decisions young people make 
about sexuality. "[Sex] is realistic, " she says. "And it happens. " 

All Falls Down, based on a story written by 1 5-year-old 
Chantel Woolridge and directed by David Koepp (Stir of Echoes, 
Trigger Effect, Secret Window), follows three best girlfriends as 
they begin the school year. Like many New York City teens, 
they take the subway to and Irom school. During their daily 
commute thev meet a group ot boys, relationships form, various 
interpersonal and sexual choices are made, and each person is 
challenged to figure out who they are and what they want. 
Reflecting on the production, Koepp noted the refreshing ide- 
alism that came through working with teenage filnmiakers. 
"This shoot was one of the most energizing experiences I've 
had," Koepp said. 

Adapted from the story Woolridge wrote with Francine 
Kitson, also 15, All Falls Down touches on themes ol alco- 
holism, teenage pregnancy, and relationships. Woolridge prides 
herself in the description ol her work as "the way teenagers real- 
ly think and talk. " "It's not like the movies they used to show in 
health class," she says. 

The last film to screen at the December awards was A 
Memoir to My Former Self Adapted from a short story written 
by 17-year-old Katrina Garcia of Miami, Florida and directed 
by Jamie Babbit {But Tm a Cheerleader), the film follows the 
smart, beautiful and popular Chloe, who, in the context ol high 
school, seems to have it all. During meals and behind closed 
doors, however, she struggles with the psychological and physi- 
cal effects of bulimia. WTien a high school adversary challenges 
her, both in the classroom and at the lunch table, Chloe is 
forced to confront her disease. Shocked out ol her comfort 
zone, Chloe realizes that the road to health requires not just a 
physical change, but an attitude change as well. Babbit, who 
was eight months pregnant by the film's weekend shoot, 
requested special permission from her doctor to fly in order to 




Shooting a scene with the boys on the subway, for the NYC film All 
Falls Down (Edward Pagan) 

keep her promise to Garcia. 

The winning writers in attendance, all of whom happened to 
be female, expressed sincere gratitude to their directors and to 
Scenarios for giving them such a unique opportunity. But the 
thanks didn't end there. Scenarios presented Eastman Kodak 
with an award acknowledging its "genuine commitment to cor- 
porate responsibility." And filmmaker Doug Liman {The 
Bourne Identity) was honored as a longtime advocate of the 
Scenarios mission, starting with his direction of the program's 
debut film. He Said, She Said (\999). Ravi Lambert, the screen- 
writer of that winning film, presented Liman with the award. 

Scenarios USA endorses the notion that by valuing youth and 
listening to their opinions, societ)' can have an impact on pro- 
moting healthy relationships and lowering the rate of HIV and 
pregnancy among teenagers. And by providing young people 
with an arena where they can teach one another instead of being 
lectured at by others, says Minsky, it is giving teenagers "control 
over their own media messages. " By bringing realistic scenarios 
Irom page to screen. Scenarios USA has not only provided a cre- 
ative outlet for talented high school writers, but it has also rev- 
olutionized the way in which sexual education reaches our 
youth today. 

Perhaps, more effectively than bananas, condoms, and 
giggles. ^ 

Please visit www.scenariosusa.org for more information. 




Robert Cerda and Mirna Garcia in the Texas film Toothpaste 



March 2005 I The Independent 53 



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on guidance issues such as violence, drug 
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Experience in features, docs, TV & indus- 
trials. Credits: Dog Run, Strays, Working 
Space/Working Light. (212) 477-0172; 
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documentary doctor, specializes in narra- 
tive structure in all stages of the filmmak- 
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fundraising trailers and post-production. 
She has doctored over 30 films and is the 
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vate consultations and workshops visit 
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CAMERAMAN/STEADICAM OPERATOR 

Owner Steadicam, Arn 35 BL, Arri 16 SR, 
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4 DAT, lighting packages to shoot fea- 
tures, music videos, commercials, etc. Call 
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COMPOSER MIRIAM CUTLER loves to collab- 
orate - docs, features. Lost In La 
Mancha/IFC, Scout's Honor, Licensed To 
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Point/HBO, Positively Naked/HBO, Stolen 
Childhoodsa, Amy's & more. (310) 398- 
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DIGITAL DP/CAMERA OPERATOR: with a Sony 
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Electronic Cinematography, documentary, 
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Full ScreenAVide Screen-(4:3/16:9). For 
reel, rate & info call: (516) 783-5790. 

783 5790.D.P WITH ARRI SR SUPER 16/16MM 

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films, music videos, etc. Superb results on 
a short schedule/low budget. Great prices. 
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EDITOR FINAL CUT PRO POWER-MAC G4 

2003-4 NYFA Grant Winner. $65/hr or by 
day/wk. Discounts; Members of Arts 
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labels, dupes, stills, photos, DVDs. Village. 
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FREELANCE CAMERA GROUP IN NYC seeking 
professional cameramen and soundmen 
w/ solid Betacam expenence to work w/ 
wide array of clients. If qualified, contact 
COA at (212) 505-1911. Must have docu- 
mentary/news samples or reel. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: Research, 
writing & strategy (for production, distribu- 
tion, exhibition & educational media proj- 
ects). Successful proposals to NYSCA, 
NEA, NEH, ITVS, Soros, Rockefeller, Lila 
Acheson Wallace Foundation. Fast writers, 



54 The Independent I March 2005 



reasonable rates. Wanda Bershen, (212) 
598-0224; www.reddiaper.com. 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 25 yrs sound exp. w/ 
timecode Nagra & DAT, quality nnics & mix- 
ers. Reduced rates for low-budget projects. 
Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677-5720: 
(819) 459-2680; edfilms@worldnet.att.net; 
www.edwardsfilms.com. 

SOUND RECORDIST / PLAYBACK OP. available 

for Features, Muisc Videos, and Corporate. 
Equipment- Dat / Nagra (time code), 5 wire- 
less mics, mixers, playback speakers, smart 
slate, comteks, cart: Derek Morse 212-620- 
0084. 

OPPORTUNITIES I GIGS 

50 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO BUSINESS. 
FREE REPORT. Grow a successful video 
business in Legal, Wedding, Corporate, TV 
and more. http://videouniversity.com 
/SOweb.htm. 

CHECK OUT THE DIGITAL CINEMA SOCIETY, a 

format agnostic nonprofit dedicated to edu- 
cating Filmmakers about digital production, 
post, delivery, and exhibition. Have access 
to streaming content, forums, classified 
and more for $15.00 www.digitalcinemaso 
ciety.org filmmakers@aol.com. 

DHTV, a progressive, nonprofit community 
media center and tv station in St. Louis, MO 
seeks works by indie producers. Half hour 
and 1 hour lenghts. S-VHS accepted.DVD 
preferred. Nonexclusive rights release upon 
acceptance. No pay but exposure to 60,000 
cable households. Contact Mariah 
Richardson, dhTV, 625 N. euclid, St. Louis, 
Mo 63108, 314.361.8870 x230, 
manah@dhtv.org. 

FILM PRODUCTION FACULTY Asst , Assoc , or 
Full Professor of Film/Video/New Media 
Production. The Film Dept of UW- 
Milwaukee seeks 2 media artists with wide- 
ly recognized reputations in the production 
of film, video and/or the digital arts. Along 
with a strong portfolio of creative accom- 
plishment, applicants should have an estab- 
lished record of teaching experience and a 



demonstrated ability to work collaboratively. 
We seek colleagues to help us realize the 
next phase of the dept.'s innovative, high- 
energy program. MFA and/or considerable 
professional experience preferred. Salan/ 
commensurate with experience. Start date: 
8/22/05. Application Procedure: send a letter 
of application, personal contact info, state- 
ment of teaching philosophy, vitae/resume, 
work samples, and contact info of three ref- 
erences to: Film Department, University of 
Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, 
Milwaukee, Wl 53201, ATTN: Production 
Faculty Search Chair. 

MANHAHAN NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK is 

pleased to announce the 2005 Community 
Media Grants, available to 501 c3 nonprofits 
and community organizations based in 
Manhattan. The grants fund the innovative 
production and use of community media 
and television. To find the complete guide- 
lines and application forms, visit 
http://mnn.org/cm/grants.html. Application 
Seminars in January. Deadline Feb. 14, 
2005. 

POSTPRODUCTION 

AUDIO POST PRODUCTION: Full service audio 
post-production facility. Mix-to-picture, ADR, 
voice-over, sound design & editing. 
Features, shorts, docs, TV & Radio. Contact 
Andy, All Ears Inc: (718) 399-6668 (718) 496- 
9066 andy@allearspost.com. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY: film-to-tape trans- 
fers, wet-gate, scene-by-scene, reversal 

film only. Camera original Regular 8mm, 
Super 8, and 16mm. For appointment call 
(978) 948-7985. 

CERTIFIED FINAL CUT PRO INSTRUCTOR and 

EDITOR. DV and Beta SP editing - learn Final 
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6260; e-mail: info@HighNoonProd.com. 

NEGATIVE CUniNG FOR FEATURES, short 
films etc. Expert conforming of 35mm, 
Super 16 or 16mm negative to workpnnt or 
Avid cut list. Superb quality work and 



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recording, mixing, editing and DVD author- 
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consults, coaching, story development, 
rewntes, etc. 212-663-9389 or 917-620- 
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keting tool! $.05 per viewing minute. Call or 
e-mail Tom Aguilar at (480) 459-1 1 14 or visit 
my website for more info. 



56 The Independent I March 2005 



FESTIVALS 



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DOMESTIC 

ACTION/CUT SHORT FILM FESTIVAI, Aug 29 

Sept. 1, CA. Deadline: March 15; May 15. 
Cats: short, any style or genre. Awards: 
$35,000 in cash & services Preview on 
DVD or VHS. Entry Fee: $40-$85. Contact: 
Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminars; filmmak 
ing@actioncut.com; www.actioncut.com. 

ALGONQUIN FILM FESTIVAL, May 19- 22, 

PA. Deadline: Apr, 30. This Festival wel- 
comes entries from all over the world & 
strives to promote independent film, w/an 
emphasis on work from the "genius belt" 
between New York & Philadelphia. Cats: 
feature, doc, animation, experimental, 
short, music video, student. Awards: None. 
Formats: 3/4", VHS, DV Beta, Digifilm. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (shorts & 
students), $40 (features). Contact: 
Algonquin Film Festival Screening 
Committee; (267) 981-1139; info@algo 
nquinfest.org; www, algonquinfest.org. 

ANTELOPE VALLEY INDEPENDENT FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 13-15, CA. Deadline: Feb. 1; 
March 28 (final). Fest seeks short & feature 
films of all genres & formats for its annual 
fest. Cats: short, doc, feature, music video, 
animation, experimental. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta SP Mini-DV. pre. Entry Fee: 
$25; $40 (Final). Contact: Michael Traina; 
(661) 722-6478; fax: 772-6612; info® 
aviff.com; www.aviff.com. 

BROOKLYN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 3-12, NY, Deadline: Nov. 30 (early); 
March 15 (Final), In the effort of consolidat- 
ing its international presence, BIFF has 
been developing solid ties with major over- 



seas film fests and distribution companies 
as well as successfully pursuing interna- 
tional sponsorship. Founded: 1997. Cats: 
feature, doc, experimental, short, anima- 
tion. Awards: $50,000 in services and cash. 
Formats: All formats accepted, 35mm, 
16mm. 3/4", 1/2", S-VHS, Beta SP super 8, 
8mm, Hi8, DV, DVD, Beta, CD-ROM. 
Preview on VHS (non-returnable). Entry 
Fee: $30 (early); $50 (final). Contact: Mario 
Pego, 180 South 4th St., Ste. 2 S., 
Brooklyn, NY 11211; (718) 388-4306; fax: 
599-5039; 2005@wbff.org; www.wbff.org 

CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL, 

May 5-11, IL, Deadline: Jan, 1; Feb. 15; 
March 1 (final). Largest Midwest showcase 
for Underground, experimental & independ- 
ent films & videos. Chicago's premiere 
independent film event, fest was created 
to promote works that innovate m form. 
technique, or content from "indie" main- 
stream & to present adventurous works 
that challenge & transcend commercial & 
audience expectations. Cats: Feature, Doc, 
Experimental, Short, Animation. Awards: 
Cash prizes & choice for: narrative feature, 
narrative short, doc, experimental, anima- 
tion, music video, audience choice & 
"made in Chicago", Formats: 16mm, 
35mm, S-8, Video, Mini DV, DVD, Mini-DV 
1/2". Preview on VHS, DVD. Entry Fee: 
$30; $40 (late). Contact: c/o Bryan 
Wendorf; (773) 278-3119; fax: 327-3464; 
info@cuff.org ; www.cuff.org 

CONNECTICUT GAY & LESBIAN FILM 
FESTIVAL, June 3-11, CT Deadline: March 
15. The Festival organizers are committed 
to bringing outstanding gay, lesbian, bisex- 
ual, transgender, & queer film to the New 
England community. Cats: feature, doc. 
short. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, DVD, Video. 
Entry Fee: $10 (US); $15 (non US), Contact: 
Dan Millett; (860) 586-1136; fax: (413) 618- 
9312; glff@yahoo.com; www.ctglff.org. 

DC ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN FILM 
FESTIVAL, Oct, 6-15, DC. Deadline: April 1; 



May 1 (final). The fest's mission is to "bring 
attention to the creative output from APA 
communities & encourage the artistic 
development of APA films in the greater 
Washington DC metropolitan region," The 
screenings are held at the Smithsonian 
Institution's Freer Gallery of Art's Meyer 
Auditorium, the Hirshhorn Museum & 
Sculpture, the Canadian Embassy, & other 
venues. Founded: 2000. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, experimental, animation. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm, Betacam. Preview on VHS 
(NTSC) or DVD. Entry Fee: $10 (shorts & 
features); $20 (final). Contact: Festival; 
gene@apafilm,org; www.apafilm.org. 

EPFC EXPERIMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL, May 

13-15, CA. Deadline: April 1. A Festival 
devouted to filmmakers working in the 
experiemtnal & doc genres. Films will 
screen in the Echo Park Film Center micro- 
cinema fest. Cats: doc, experimental, 
short Preview on VHS or DVD. Contact: 
Echo Park Film Center; paolofilm@hot 
mail.com; www, echoparkfilmcenter.org. 

FILM LIFE'S AMERICAN BLACK FILM 
FESTIVAL, July 13-17, FL, Deadline: April 8. 
Festival is 5 days of independent films, 
panels, workshops, Hollywood premieres, 
live entertainment and the ABFF Awards 
Dinner. Filmmakers, actors, industry exec- 
utives, journalists and the film-loving public 
form a creatively charged atmosphere on 
South Beach that leads to serious 
business. Fest dubs itself as "the pre- 
miere international black film market and 
retreat," Founded: 1997. Cats: Feature, 
Short, doc. Formats: All formats. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $30. Contact: Festival, 
c/o Film Life, 584 Broadway, Ste 1004, 
New York, NY. USA 10012; (212) 966-2411; 
fax: 966-2219; abff@thefilmlife.com; 
www.abffcom. 

HAWAII OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL. Spring, HI 
Deadline: April 1. Fest featurs films about 
the marine environment, ocean recreation 
& our cultural connections to the sea. Cats: 



March 2005 I The Independent 57 



FESTIVALS 



feature, doc, short, student, youth media. 
Entry Fee: $10. Contact; Mali Sandler; 
(808) 826-4581; h20filnn@yahoo.com; 
www.hawaiioceanfilmfestival.org. 

HONOLULU RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL, May 

26-29, HI. Deadline: March 15. Formerly 
the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, 
the fest welcomes works of any length or 
genre made by or about lesbians & gay 
men. Fest prefers US, Hawaiian, or World 
Premieres. Cats: Feature, Doc, Short, 
Animation, Experimental, Any style or 
genre. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 3/4". 
Preview on VMS. Entry Fee: $15 (shorts); 
$25 (features). Contact: Connie Florez, 
Program Director; (808) 381-1952; fax: 943- 
1724; info@hglcf.org; www.hglcf.org. 

HOT SPRINGS DOC FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 21- 

30, AR. Deadline: April 8, May 20 (final). 
Annual fest accepting nonfiction film 
submissions for one of the country's pre- 
mier nonfiction film celebrations. 



Noncompetitive fest honors films & film- 
makers each yr. in beautiful Hot Springs 
Nat'l Park, Arkansas. More than 85 films 
are screened, incl. the current year's 
Academy Award nominees in nonfiction 
cats. Special guest scholars, filmmakers & 
celebrities participate in forums & lectures. 
Founded: 1992. Cats: doc. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, 1/2", DVD, Beta. Preview on VHS 
or DVD. Entry Fee: $25-$55. Contact: Daria 
Dixon, HSDFI; (501) 321-4747; fax: (501) 
321-021 1 ; ddixon@sdfi.org; www.hsdfi.org. 

HYPEFEST, July 29-31, CA. Deadline: Feb. 
11; April 1. Fest accepting short films (25 
min. or less), commercials, music videos & 
promos for competition screening. Only 
works completed in the current or previous 
yr. eligible. Cats: short, music video, 
commercials. Preview on VHS (NTSC) or 
DVD. Entry Fee: $20 (student w/ ID), $35; 
final: $45, $30 (student). Contact: Festival; 
(323) 938-8363; fax: 938-8757; info@hype 
fest.com; www.hypefest.com. 



HUNGARIAN MULTICULTURAL CENTER FILM 
AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, Aug 17-19, Hungary. 
Deadline: April 20. Annual fest accepts film 
is dedicated to promote cultural expansion 
of the visual arts between Hungary & the 
United States. Work must be under 60 min. 
in length & been completed in past 2 years. 
Cats: Animation, Feature, Short, Doc. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". 
Preview on VHS (NTSC), incl. SASE for 
return. Entry Fee: US$35. Contact: 
Hungarian Multicultural Center, Inc.; 
(972) 225-8053; fax: (972) 308-8191; 
bszechy@yahoo.com; hungarian-multicul 
tural-center.com. 

KANSAS INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, Sept 9-16, 
KS. Deadline: March 31 ; April 30 (final). The 
fest IS a celebration of independent cinema 
& features a Think! series of socially 
conscious documentaries, experimental 
works, foreign films, & American indies. 
All films screen in beautifully restored the- 
atres operated by the Fine Arts Theatre 



58 The Independent I March 2005 



Group in the Greater Kansas City area. The 
Lucid Underground Film Festival of shorts 
w/ a punk tenacity also screens during KIFF, 
Cats: doc, feature, short, expennnental. 
Awards: Audience awards; $250 cash 
prizes in each category. Formats: 35mm, 
DV Cam. Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry 
Fee: $30; $40 (final). Contact: Dotty 
Hamilton; (816) 501-3646; info@kansas 
film.com; www.kansasfilm.com. 

LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL June 16-26, 
CA. Deadline: Jan. 14, Feb. 18 (final: 
shorts, music video); March 1 (final: fea- 
tures). Fest showcases the best of 
American & int'l independent cinema. The 
fest screens over 80 features & 60 shorts. 
Fest IS widely recognized as a world-class 
event, uniting emerging filmmakers w/ crit- 
ics, scholars, film masters, & the movie- 
loving public. Founded: 1995. Cats: 
Feature, Doc, Short, Animation, Music 
Video, Student. Awards: Narrative 
Competition receives a $50,000 cash grant, 



Doc Competition winner receives a 
$25,000 cash grant, both funded by Target 
Stores. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, DigiBeta, 
HD Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: 
$50/$65 (features); $35/$45 (shorts); 
$20/$30 (music videos). Contact: Varky 
James; (310) 432-1208; lafilmfest@ifp org; 
www.lafilmfest.com 

MADCAT WOMEN'S INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, 

Sept., CA. Deadline: March 25; May 13 
(final). MadCat showcases innovative & 
challenging works from around the globe. 
Fest features experimental, avant garde & 
independent works by women of all 
lengths & genres. Works can be produced 
ANY year. It is the fest's goal to expand the 
notion of women's cinema beyond the lim- 
itations of films about traditional women's 
issues. All topics/subjects will be consid- 
ered. Founded: 1996. Cats: any style or 
genre. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, super 8, 
Beta SR 1/2", Mini-DV. Preview on VHS or 
DVD. Entry Fee: $10-$30 (sliding scale, pay 



what you can afford). Contact: Festival; 
(415) 436-9523; fax: 934-0642; info@mad 
catfilmfestival.org; www.madcatfilmfesti 
val.org. 

MAINE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL July 15 24, 
ME. Deadline: April 30. A leading New 
England regional film fest w/ an exception- 
al emphasis on int'l productions. Festival 
seeks features & shorts "shot in Maine or 
w/ a significant Maine focus." Recent fest 
guests & winners of MIFF's Mid-Life 
Achievement Award incl. Sissy Spacek, & 
Terrence Malick. Founded: 1998. Cats: 
Feature, Short, doc. Awards: Audience 
Award (Best Feature). Formats: 35mm, 
3/4", Beta SP, 16mm, S-VHS, 1/2", Beta, 
DigiBeta, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$35; $45 (final). Contact: MIFF; (207) 861- 
8138; fax: 872-5502; info@miff.org; 
www.miff.org. 

MARGARET MEAD FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 

November 11-16, NY. Deadline: April 30. 



March 2005 I The Independent 59 



FESTIVALS 



Premiere US test for nonf iction work, w/ no 
restrictions on subject, length, or yr of 
production Held at the American Museum 
of Natural History, the fest incls. forums & 
discussions with filmmakers. Founded: 
1977. Cats; Short, doc, animation, experi- 
mental, student, youth media. Awards: No 
awards, some financial assistance & 
honorarium. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta. 
Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Festival; (212) 769-5305; fax: 769- 
5329; meadfest@amnh.org; or see 
www.amnh.org/mead. 

MOONDANCE INTL FILM FESTIVAL, May 1 5- 

18, CO. Deadline: April 1. Moondance 
encourages & promotes screenwriters & 
filmmakers. Held in Boulder, Colorado, the 
competion is open to all writers & indie 
filmmakers. Cats: Feature, Doc, Animation, 
short, experimental, script, music video, 
student, youth media, family, children, TV, 
any style or genre, radio drama, puppetry 
theatre, lyrics & libretti, TV MOW's, TV 
Episodes, Stage plays. Awards: Columbine 
Award for film, screenplay, stage play, or 
short story that best depicts problems or 
conflicts solved in non-violent manner. 
Spirit of Moondance Awards (for & by 
women all genres & cats), Seahorse 
Awards (for & by men & women, all genres 
& cats). Dolphin Awards (for & by kids & 
youth). Formats: Beta SP, DVD. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $25 Animation; $50 shorts; 
$75 features. Contact: Festival; (303)545- 
0202; moondanceff@aol.com; www. moon 
dancefilmfestival.com. 

NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL, June 15-19, 
MA. Deadline: April 1. Fest focuses on 
screenwriters & their craft, presents fea- 
ture films, short films, docs, staged read- 
ings, Q&A w/ filmmakers, panel discus- 
sions, the "Morning Coffee With" series. 
Late Night Storytelling, Teen's View on 
NFF Program & NBC Screenwriter's 
Tribute. Fest's goal is to "foster a creative 
film industry community of screenwriters, 
filmmakers, directors & producers where 



partnerships are formed & deals are 
made." Cats: any style or genre, script, 
short, feature. Awards: Tony Cox Award for 
Screenwritmg Competition, Moby Dick 
Award for Best Screenwritmg in a Feature 
Film & Short Film, Audience Awards for 
Best Feature & Short Film, Best 
Storytelling in a Doc Feature & Teen's View 
on NFF Short Film Award. Formats: 35mm, 
Video, 16mm, DigiBeta. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $40 (features); $25 (shorts, 35 
mm. or less); $45 (screenplays). Contact; 
(212) 708-1278; fax: 226-5054; info@nan 
tucketfilmfestival.org; www.nantucketfilm 
festival.org. 

NEW JERSEY INTL FILM FESTIVAL, June & 

July, NJ. Deadline: April 1, Annual fest 
showcases the best m independent film & 
video, featuring premiere screenings of 
award-winning works, seminars, panels 
discussions & guest appearances. Max. 
film age is 24 months, no repeat entries. 
Founded: 1996. Cats: animation, short, 
experimental, feature, doc, any style or 
genre, children, family, youth media, 
student, music video. Awards: Over $4,000 
in cash & prizes. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 
3/4", Beta SP Hi8, 1/2", S-VHS, DV DVD. 
Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: $35- 
$65. Contact: Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC; 
(732) 932-8482; fax: 932-1935; njmac 
©aol.com; www.n|filmfest.com. 

NEW YORK VIDEO FESTIVAL, July , NY 
Deadline: March 10. Annual mt'l electronic 
arts fest presented in association w/ 
Lincoln Center Summer Festival. All genres 
& platforms of any length will be consid- 
ered: video art, doc, computer animation, 
interactive (CD-ROM etc.). All videos cho- 
sen will be projected m the Film Society's 
Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. 
There are no cats or awards. All work must 
be originally produced and/or postproduced 
in video/computer. Average of 40 works 
presented m 10 programs; coverage in NY 
Times & Village Voice, as well as out-of- 
town & mt'l coverage. Submitted works 



should be recent (w/in past two years); NY 
premieres required. Founded: 1992. Cats: 
experimental. Formats: 1/2", 3/4", Beta SP 
CD-ROM, Digital. Preview on 3/4", 1/2" 
(NTSC, PAL), CD-ROM (for PC). Do not sub- 
mit preview m Beta. Do not send masters; 
tapes not returned. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Sara Bensman; (212) 875-5638; 
fax: 875-5636; festival@filmlinc.com; 
www.filmlinc.com. 

NEWPORT INTL FILM FESTIVAL, June 7-12, 
Rl. Deadline: Mar. 15. This Festival aims for 
stellar programming & claims that it has 
"cemented its reputation as one of the 
most exciting & exclusive fests of its kind." 
Founded: 1998. Cats: Feature, Doc, Short, 
Animation. Awards: Juried awards. 
Formats: 35mm, Beta SP, DigiBeta. 
Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: $30 
(shorts); $40 (features & docs) . Contact: 
Sky Sitney, Festival director; (646) 442- 
2082; email programming@newportfilm 
festival.com; check out www.newportfilm 
festival.com. 

OCEAN CITY FILM FESTIVAL, June 3 6, NJ 
Deadline: March 1; April 1 (final). Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, short, animation, student. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25-$50. 
Contact: Festival; (609) 646-1640; 
admin@oceancityfilmfestival.com; 
www.oceancityfilmfestival.com. 

OUTFEST: THE LOS ANGELES GAY & LESBIAN 
FILM FESTIVAL, July 7-18, CA, Deadline: 
Jan. 28, March 11 (final). The mission of 
Outfest IS to "build bridges among audi- 
ences, filmmakers & the entertainment 
industry through the exhibition of high-qual- 
ity gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender 
themed films & videos, highlighted by an 
annual fest, that enlighten, educate & 
entertain the diverse communities of 
Southern California". Fest also offers a 
weekly screening series yr. round, as well 
as a screenwritmg lab. Founded: 1982. 
Cats: Feature, Doc, Short, Animation, 
Experimental, script. Formats: 35mm, 



60 The Independent I March 2005 



16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta SP. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: Features (over 50 mm.) 
$25, $35 (final); Shorts: $15 , $25 (final) 
Screenwnting Lab $25 (1/31 only). Contact 
Festival: (213)480-7088; fax: 480-7099; pro 
gramming@outfest.org; www.outfest.org. 

PHILADELPHIA INT'L GAY & LESBIAN FILM 
FESTIVAL, July 7-18, PA. Deadline: April 23. 
Competitive test screening int'l features, 
documentaries, & shorts, w/ cash prizes for 
both jury & audience awards. Cats: feature, 
short, doc, children. Awards: Audience 
Award, Best Feature ($1,000); Audience 
Award, Gay Male Short ($500); Audience 
Award, Lesbian Short ($500); Jury Award, 
Best Feature ($500); Jury Award, Doc 
($500); Jury Award, Lesbian Short ($250); 
Jury Award, Gay Male Short ($250). 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
Festival; (215) 733-0608 ext. 249; fax: 
(215) 733-0668; rmurray@phillyfests.com; 
www.phillyfests.com. 

REEL VENUS FILM FESTIVAL, July 20-22, NY 
Deadline: April 15; May 13 (final). A show- 
case of Film/Video Shorts, 30 mm. & under, 
all genres, directed & written by emerging 
& established women filmmakers from the 
United States & Abroad. Founded: 2003. 
Cats: any style or genre, short. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, DigiBeta, 1/2", 
DVD. Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: 
$15; $20 (final). Contact: Melissa Fowler, 
Festival Director; info@reelvenus.com; 
www.reelvenus.com. 

RURAL ROUTE FILM FESTIVAL, July 23-25, 
NY. Deadline: March 25. Festival has been 
created to highlight works that deal w/ rural 
people & places. Works that incl. alterna- 
tive country, country western & folk music 
are encouraged. Founded: 2002. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, short, animation, experimental. 
Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta, mini-DV, 
DVD. preview on VHS (NTSC). Entry Fee: 
$15 shorts; $35 features. Contact: Alan 
Webber; (718) 389-4367; filmfest@rural 
routefilms.com; www.ruralroutefilms.com. 



SAN FRANCISCO BLACK FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 8-12, CA. Deadline: Feb. 1; March 1 
(final). The San Francisco Black Film 
Festival offers an array of cutting edge 
films & videos from the most recent cine- 
matic works from emerging & established 
filmmakers that highlight the beauty & 
complexity of the African & African 
American experience. Films must have 
been completed since January of previous 
yr. & one of the film's principals (director, 
writer producer) must be Black or of 
African heritage. Other activities mcl. edu- 
cational seminars, panels, youth events & 
an awards ceremony. Founded: 1998. Cats: 
feature, short, narrative, doc, children, fam- 
ily, youth media, animation, script, music 
video , any style or genre. Awards: Melvin 
Van Peebles Maverick Award to overall win- 
ner; Best Feature, Best Short, Best Doc, 
Jury Award for Best Screenplay. Formats: 
35mm, Beta. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$25 (films); $35 (screenplays). Contact: Ave 
Montague, director; (415) 771-9271; fax: 
775-1332; info@sfbff org; www.sfbff.org. 

SAN FRANCISCO SEX WORKERS' FILM & 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, May, CA. Deadline: March 
1. Fest "provides a forum for the accom- 
plishments of sex worker film & videomak- 
ers m a contemporary cinema." Works 
must be directed/produced by someone 
who has worked in the sex industries or be 
about any aspect of sex work or sex indus- 
tries Founded: 1999. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, experimental, animation, music 
video, student, youth media, installation, 
any style or genre. Awards: Sex Worker 
Sinema Awards. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
1/2", 3/4", DV (mini DV preferred for 
screening). Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$25. Contact: Carol Leigh; (415) 751-1659; 
email swfest@bayswan.org; www. bays 
wan.org/swfest.html. 

SEAHLE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 19 June 
12, WA. Deadline: Feb. 1; March 1. SIFF is 
the largest film fest in the US, presenting 
more than 200 features & 80 short films to 



an audience of over 150,000 filmgoers 
each year. Fest is one of five N. American 
film tests in which presentation will qualify 
a film w/out distribution for submission to 
the Independent Spirit awards. Founded: 
1976. Cats: feature, doc, short. Awards: 
Best American Independent Film, Best 
New Director (Int'l), Best Short Film & 
audience-based Golden Space Needle, 
given for feature film, director, actress, 
actor, doc, & shorts. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta, Beta SP, DigiBeta. Preview on 
VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: $35-$90. Contact: 
Cinema Seattle; (206) 264-7919; fax: 264- 
7919; info@seattlefilm.com; www. Seattle 
film.com. 

SILVERDOCS: AFI/DISCOVERY CHANNEL DOC 
FILM FESTIVAL, June 14-19, MD. Deadline: 
Jan 28, March 4 (final). Fest was created 
through an alliance between AFI & the 
Discovery Channel to "showcase, honor & 
expand the audience for independent docu- 
mentaries". The Int'l Doc Conference runs 
concurrently June 15-17. Filmmakers can 
attend all Conference panels & workshops 
& sign up for Silver Sessions, small group 
meetings w/ industry pros that connect 
filmmakers w/ decision-makers: program 
executives from Discovery, IFC, ITVS, 
HBO, PBS, & more. Networking opportuni- 
ties abound at free breakfasts, lunches & 
cocktail receptions. Cats: doc, any style or 
genre. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 
(short), $30 (feature); $30 (short, final), $35 
(feature final). Contact: Festival; (301) 495- 
6776; fax: 495-6777; info@silverdocs.com; 
www.silverdocs.com. 

SPROUT FILM FESTIVAL, May 7 8, NY 

Deadline: March 1. Festival was created to 
showcase film & video related to the field 
of developmental disabilities at screening 
at the NYU Cantor Film Center. Cats: any 
style or genre, feature, doc, short. Entry 
Fee: $15; $25 (over 30 mm.). Contact: 
Anthony Di Salvo; (212) 222-9575; 
email anthony@gosprout.org; www. film 
festival.gosprout.org. 



March 2005 I The Independent 61 



FESTIVALS 



SUBMERGE INT'L ART & ENVIRONMENT 
FESTIVAL, June-Oct., NY Deadline Apnl 1 
Fest mission is "presenting film, video & 
photography which reflects our concerns 
about our fragile aquatic environments, all 
about Water." Fest is presented each yr ai 
various venues incl. outdoor & theatrical 
screenings, Gallery Exhibits & Public Art 
Installations. Founded: 2002 Cats: any 
style or genre, doc, short, experimental. 
Awards: Best Photography; Best Subject. 
Formats: Mini-DV, DVD, Beta, 1/2". 
Preview on VHS Entry Fee: $20. Contact: 
Festival; urbandivers@urbandivers.org; 
www.urbandivers.org. 

TRIBECA UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 

April 21-May 1, NY. Deadline: March 1. 
Works can range between 5 to 30 min.. 
Founded: 2004. Cats: short, any style or 
genre. Formats: DVD. Preview on DVD. 
Entry Fee: $1 5. Contact: c/o A Taste of Art; 
(212) 964-5493; info@befilm.net; 

www.tribecaundergroundfilmfestival.org. 

WOODS HOLE FILM FESTIVAL, July 30-Aug. 
6. MA. Deadline: Apnl 1; May 15 (final). A 
showcase for independent film w/ special 
emphasis on regional filmmakers & 
cinematography. Founded: 1991. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, short, animation, experimental, 
script. Awards: Best of the Fest, Best fea- 
ture: drama, comedy, documentary; Short: 
drama, comedy, animation, documentary, 
experimental; Director's Choice Award for 
Cinematography. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 
Beta SP DVD, DigiBeta. Preview on VHS 
or DVD. Entry Fee: features: $40, $50 
(final); shorts (under 40 mm): $20, $30 
(final). Contact: JC Bouvier; (508) 495-3456; 
email: info@woodsholefilmfestival.org; 
www.woodsholefilmfestival.org. 

ZEITGEIST INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June 13 / 
July 11 / Aug. 8, CA. Deadline: April 30. 
ZIFF is an "irreverent" fest, held in San 
Francisco in the backyard of the Zeitgeist 
Bar (seats 300). Works can be in any cate- 
gory/genre "that can hold the attention of 
the average bar patron". Cats: short (15 
min or less). Formats: 16mm, 1/2", DV, 
DVD. Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: 
None. Contact: B Berzins; (415) 786-9967; 



ikooking@yahoo.com; www overcooked 

cinema com 

INTERNATIONAL 

AFRICA IN THE PICTURE Sept 3-14, 
Netherlands. Deadline: April 15. Africa in 
the picture is one of the oldest African film 
fests in Europe. The bi-annual fest is held in 
Amsterdam & other cities in the 
Netherlands, featunng works from Africa & 
the African Diaspora. Founded: 1987. Cats: 
feature, doc, short. Preview on VHS 
PAL7NTSC. Entry Fee: none. Contact:Sasha 
Dees; (212) 864-5921; deessasha@cs.com; 
www.africainthepicture.nl. 

CATALUNYA INT'L ENVIRONMENTAL FILM 

FESTIVAL June 1-6, Spam. Deadline: April 
1. Cats: feature, doc. Contact: Festival; 
Oil 34 936 336 852; fax: 936-336-852; 
ficma@ficma.com; www.ficma.com. 

DUBROVNIK INT'L FILM FESTIVAL May 24- 

29, Croatia. Deadline: March 1. Dubrovnik 
is a tiny city but nonetheless uniquely 
impressive & historical, neatly enveloped in 
the blanket of thick stone fortress walls. 
Following the rich heritage of its location, 
this film fest strives to showcase the 
very best in the world of film arts & cultur- 
al treasures. Cats; doc, short, feature, 
music video. Awards: Various juried 
awards. Formats: 35mm, Betacam SP, 
DVD, Pal, NTSC, . Preview on DVD or VHS. 
Entry Fee: $20 (shorts); $35 (features); 
other fees (check website for details). 
Contact: Program Department; (310) 
903-0483; program@dubrovnikiff.org; 

www.dubrovnikiff.org. 

DURBAN INT'L FILM FESTIVAL June 15-26, 
South Africa. Deadline: April 1. The fest 
screens over 200 of top films from around 
the world, incl. special reflections on 10 
years of democracy In South Africa. Most 
of the films are premiere showings in this 
country. The fest also offers seminars & 
workshops featuring local & int'l filmmak- 
ers. The programme incls. screenings in 
township areas where cinemas are non- 
existent. Cats: doc, feature, short, anima- 
tion. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, S-VHS, Beta, 



DVD. 1/2". Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry 
Fee: None. Contact: Centre for Creative 
Arts; 01 1 +27 (0) 31 260 2506; fax: 01 1 +27 
(0) 31 260 3074; diff@ukzn.ac.za; 
www.cca.ukzn.ac.2a. 

EMDEN AURICH NORDERNEY INT'L 
FESTIVAL June 1-8, Germany. Deadline: 
Mar, 1 (shorts); Mar. 21 (features). This 
independent fest programme focuses on 
Northwestern Europe & aims to create a 
cordial & personal atmosphere for its 
knowledgeable & enthusiastic audience. 
Cats: feature, short. Awards: audience & 
cash awards. Formats: 35mm. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Int'les 
Filmfest Emden; (Oil) 49 4921 9155 31; 
fax: 4921 9155 99; filmfest@vhs 
emden.de; www.filmfestemden.de. 

FESTIVAL OF NATIONS, June 13-19, Austria. 
Deadline: April 1. All noncommercial films 
& videos qualified to participate. Please 
enclose short description of film. 
Film/video must be completed w/in the last 
two years. Duration of film is limited to 30 
min. Films rated by int'l jury. Cats: any 
style or genre, short, length from 3-30 min.. 
Awards: "Ebenseer Bear" in gold, silver & 
bronze. Special Award for the "Best Film" 
in the competition; Special award for best 
short under 3 mm.; special award for best 
experimental film. Formats: 1/2", S-VHS, 
DV, DVD, Mini DV. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee; None. Contact: Erich Riess ; 01 1 43 
732 673 693; fax; 666 2 666; 
eva-video@netway.at; www.8ung.at/film 
festival. 

FUKUOKA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL early July, 

Japan, Deadline: March 31. Most popular 
Asian film fest in Japan. Welcomes partic- 
ipation by any Asian directors, directors of 
Asian extraction, & directors of any nat'lity 
if they are working w/ Asian themes. Cats; 
feature, short, doc, animation, experimen- 
tal, student, music video, any style or 
genre. Awards; non-cash prizes. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm. 1/2", 3/4", S-VHS, Beta SR 
DV, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
None. Contact: Shu Maeda; Oil 81 92 733 
0949; fax: 81 92 733 0948; faff@gol.com; 
www2.gol.com/users/faff/english.html. 



62 The Independent I March 2005 



INT'L FILM FESTIVAL INNSBRUCK, June 15, 
Austria. Deadline: Mar. 31. IFFI presents 
over 50 films from & about Africa, South 
America & Asia. Submitted films must be 
Austrian premieres. Founded: 1992. Cats: 
Feature, Doc, Short, Animation. Awards: 
Tyrol Award (5,000 E); Audience Award 
(1,000 E); French Cultural Institute's 
Francophone Award (1,000 E). Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS PAL. Entry 
Fee: None. Contact: Raimund Obkircher; 
Oil 43 512 57 85 00 14; fax: 57 85 00 13; 
info@iffi.at; wwwiffi.at. 

INT'L SCIENTIFIC FILM FESTIVAL, Nov 8-13, 
Hungary. Deadline: March 31. This fest 
presents works of various genres, which 
are somehow related to science, scientific 
activity & achievements. Festival provides 
free accommodation for one author of each 
film accepted for competition. Cats: doc, 
short, experimental, animation. Preview on 
VHS PAL or DVD. Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
Istvan Demeter, Managing Director; 01 1 36 
56 511 270; fax: 36 56 420 038; 
festival@tiszamozi.hu; www.tiszamozi.hu. 

KARLOVY VARY INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 1- 
9, Czech Republic. Deadline: April 15. 
Annual FIAPF-recognized competitive fest, 
founded in 1946. This fest is intended for 
lay as well as professional public & it offers 
to its visitors a carefully composed pro- 
gram, high-quality background, & a wide 
amount of services. Founded: 1946, Cats: 
Doc, Feature, Short. Awards: Grand Prize 
of Crystal Globe, Special Jury Award, Best 
Director Prize, Best Actor/Actress & 
Lifetime Achievement Award . Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
None. Contact: KVIFF; (Oil) 420 221 411 
Oil; fax: 420 221 411 033; 
program@kviff.com; www.kviff.com. 

NETHERLANDS TRANSGENOER FILM FESTI- 
VAL, May 21-25, Netherlands. Deadline: 
March 1 . Cats: feature, doc, short, experi- 
mental. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Kam Wai 
Kui; Oil 31 20 636 3727; fax: 31 20 636 
3730; info@transgenderfilmfestival.com; 
www.transgenderfilmfestival.com. 

NICKEL INDEPENDENT FILM & VIDEO 



FESTIVAL, July 6-9, Canada. Deadline: 
March 15; April 15 (final). The fest dubs 
Itself as a "fest created by filmmakers for 
filmmakers". In addition to screenings of 
films & videos, the fest stages actor's 
workshops, Q & A periods w/ filmmakers, 
showcases local theatre pieces & features 
local music & readings between screen- 
ings. Founded: 2001. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, music video, any style or genre. 
Awards: Awards in various cats. Formats: 
Beta SP 16mm. Preview on VHS or DVD. 
Entry Fee: $10 (shorts); $20 (features). 
Contact: Roger Maunder; (709) 722-3456; 
nickelfestival@yahoo.ca; wwwnickelfesti 
val.com. 

ODENSE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL August 15- 
20, Denmark. Deadline: Apr. 1 . This Festival 
IS an independent short film fest w/ both an 
mt'l & a nat'l competition. This fest is 
designed to screen unusual short films of 
high quality w/ an original & imaginative 
sense of creative delight. Founded: 1975 
Cats: experimental, feature, short, anima- 
tion. Awards: Grand Prix, most imaginative, 
most surprising & special jury prizes. 
Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta SP Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Festival; 
(Oil) 45 6613 1372; fax: 45 6591 4318; 
off .ksf@odense dk; www.filmfestival.dk. 

PARNU INT'L DOC & ANTHROPOLOGY FILM 
FESTIVAL, July 3-10. Deadline: Apr. 1. The 
aim of the fest in general is to support cul- 
tural survival of peoples. Only documentary 
films & videos of high value & quality, 
recording human activities in social, histori- 
cal or ecological context are accepted for 
competition screenings. Cats: doc. Awards: 
Grand Jury awards & Estonian People's 
award. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, 
DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Vaiko Edur; (Oil) 372 44 30772; 
fax: 372 44 30774; aip@chaplin.ee; 
www.chaplin.ee. 

SALENTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 

Sept. 10-18, Italy. Deadline: March 30; 
June 10 (final). This Festival promotes 
Italian and international independent films 
to the public, m recognition of the fact that 
movies are the most powerful form of cul- 



tural communication and link between cul- 
tures and peoples. Cats: feature, doc, 
short. Awards: Grand Jury awards. 
Formats: 35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $30 (shorts); $50 (features). Contact: 
SIFF, PO. Box 931075, Los Angeles, CA 
90093; (818) 248-2349; fax: (818) 248- 
1647; Email lnfo@salentofilmfestival.com; 
www.salentofilmfestival.com. 

SPLICE THIS! THE TORONTO ANNUAL SUPER 
8 FILM FESTIVAL, June 17-19, Canada. 
Deadline: April 15. Non-competitive fest 
dedicated to the exhibition of small gauge 
films, showcasing a wide range of work by 
first- time filmmakers & seasoned super- 
eighters. All entries must be shot on Super 
8. Video will be screened only if original 
print isn't avail, or if the film was edited on 
video. 16mm blow-ups of super 8 films are 
also considered. Cats: any style or genre. 
Formats: super 8, silent super 8, super 8 w/ 
live accomampaniment, super 8 w/ sound, 
super8 w/ audiocassette. Super 8 work on: 
1/2", DVD, Mini-DV. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $5. Contact: Festival; splicethis 
©yahoo.com; www.splicethis.com. 

WELLINGTON FILM FESTIVAL/AUCKLAND 
INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July, New Zealand 
Deadline: Mid April. Noncompetitive fest, 
w/ a core program of 120 features (& 
as many shorts), fest simultaneously 
presents Auckland & Wellington Film 
Festivals & programs that travel to cities of 
Dunedin & Christchurch & other cities 
throughout New Zealand. Founded: 1972. 
Cats: Feature, Short. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta SP. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: None. Contact: Bill Gosden; Oil 64 4 
385 0162; fax: 801 7304; entries 
©nzff.co.nz; www.nzff.co.nz. 



ATVF members can 

access more festival 

listings at 

www. aivf.org/festivals 



March 2005 I The Independent 63 



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By Lindsay Gelfand 



ASOLO ART FILM FESTIVAL seeks entries by 
May 20, 2005 that fit into the following five 
categories: films on art, artists' live, auteur 
cinema; the challenge of eroticism, 
videoart — computer art, and productions. 
Please send submissions with entry form, 
filmography, slides and synopsis to 
AsoloArtFilmFestival, Foresto Vecchio, 8, 
31011 Asolo [TV] Italy. Email info@asolofilm 
festival.it or visit www. asolofilmfestival.it for 
more information. 

BOXCAR, a screening series held every two 
months at the Detroit Film Center, is current- 
ly seeking submissions of short experimental 
and documentary work. Send submissions 
on mini DV along with a 2-3 sentence synop- 
sis. There is no form or entry fee. Send work 
to: Detroit Film Center, c/o Boxcar, 1227 
Washington Blvd. Detroit, Ml 48226. Please 
include SASE for return of tape.boxcarcine 
ma@hotmail.com 

CAPE COD FILM SOCIETY SCREENING SERIES of 

Brewester, MA, seeks experimental, docu- 
mentary & fiction films & videos on an ongo- 
ing basis. Films can be any length, genre or 



style, but should fit into one of these 7 cate- 
gories: war, women filmmakers, race & iden- 
tity, religion. Cape Cod, masculinity or grief. 
Please send work on VHS, DVD, or mini-DV 
w/ filmmaker bio & suggested category. Also 
indicate your availability to appear with your 
work for Q&A. Send to: Rebecca M. Alvin, 
Belly Girl Films, Inc., PO Box 1727, Brewster, 
MA 02631-7727; belly girl@earthlink.net. 

CELLULOID SOCIAL CLUB is a monthly screen- 
ing series in Vancouver featuring the best in 
independent provocative short & feature 
films & videos followed by fun & frolic. 
Hosted by Ken Hegan at the ANZA Club, #3 
West 8th Ave., Vancouver, BC. No minors. 
Prizes galore For more info call (604) 730- 
8090 or email celluloid@shaw.ca; 
wvvw.CelluloidSocialClub.com. 

DREAM SERIES: Seeks challenging social-issue 
documentaries that promote frank communi- 
ty discussions about issues of racial prejudice 
and social injustice that fall under the Martin 
Luther King, Jr., legacy. Selected works are 
screened for this ongoing monthly series at 
the MLK National Histonc Site in Atlanta, GA, 



and promoted, listed, and reviewed in local 
print. Formats; VHS, Beta, Send non return- 
able VHS screeners to Exhibitions Curator 
IMAGE Film & Video Center 535 Means 
Street, NW, Suite C Atlanta, Georgia 30318 or 
visit www. image fv.org for more info. 

INDIEEXPOSURE is a new festival that is 
designed to build an ongoing and more open 
network for independent film professionals 
and "enthusiasts." The goal is to provide con- 
tinued opportunities for great filmmakers to 
showcase their work, while offering film 
buffs more variety and easier access to a 
broader independent film community. I.E. will 
sponsor screenings of select films on a 
monthly basis at a local Los Angeles theatre. 
For submission procedure, email Indie 
Exposure@verizon.net and type "SUBMIS- 
SION" in the subject line. Questions may be 
directed to lndieExposure@veri zon.net. 

MADCAT seeks provocative and visionary 
films and videos directed or co-directed by 
women. Films can be of any length or genre 
and produced ANY year. MadCat is commit- 
ted to showcasing work that challenges the 



64 The Independent I March 2005 



use of sound and image and explores notions 
of visual story telling. All subjects/topics will 
be considered. Submission Fee: $10-30 slid- 
ing scale. Pay what you can afford. For an 
entry form and more details go to www.mad- 
catfilmfestival.org or call 415 436-9523. 
Preview Formats: VHS or DVD. Exhibition 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, SuperS, Beta SP 
Mini DV, VHS. All entnes must include a 
SASE for return of materials. Early Deadline: 
March 25, 2005. Final Deadline: May 13, 
2005. 

REELBLACK PRESENTS is a Philadelphia-based 
film and video showcase designed to pro- 
mote, develop and nurture an audience for 
quality African-American film. We're cur- 
rently looking for recent Features, Shorts & 
Docs by and/or about Black Folks. No entry 
fee. Please send (non-returnable) VHS or 
DVD screeners w/ presskit to REELBLACK, 
PO. Box 12302 Philadelphia, PA 19119. For 
more info contact Miked®. reelblack.com. 

T2005TAURI FILM FESTIVAL, a division of Ozark 
Foothills FilmFest, is open to filmmakers age 



18 and under. Entries will be )udged by peer 
panels at three grade levels: 4-6, 7-9, and 10- 
12. Entries are being sought in the following 
categories: narrative, documentary, music 
video, public service message, and anima- 
tion/experimental. Awards will be given for 
the best film at each grade level in each cate- 
gory. Award-winners and other films selected 
by the judges will be included in a "Best of T 
Taun" regional touring program. VHS or DVD 
formatted entries should be sent to T Taun 
Film Festival, 195 Peel Road, Locust Grove 
AR 72550 by May 1, 2005 Additional infor- 
mation IS available at filmfest@direcway-Com. 
Email filmfest ©direcwat.com or call 870-251 - 
1189. 

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT FILM FEST, CA. Deadline 
APRIL 1st Fest: May 6-8, 2005 Fest high- 
lights films made by youth Cats: 
Experimental, Doc, Animation & Narrative 
Awards: Honorarium & prizes awarded. 
Formats: All Preview: DVD or VHS. Entry Fee: 
None Contact: Kids Director Echo Park Film 
Center 1 200 N. Alvarado Street LA CA 90026 
(213) 484-8846 www.echoparkfilmcenter.org 




"Fernanda Rossi, the 
Documentary Doctor, 
has written the perfect 
prescription for your 
documentary doldrums. 
Trailer Mechanics — 
soon to become the 
bible on this topic so 
long ignored yet so 
central to the process 
of creating and funding 
your documentary. " 

Motrie Warshawski author of 

Shaking the Money Tree: 

How to Get Grants and 

Donations for Film and Television 

nry 

magafilms 

P.O. Box 717 

New York, NY 10028-0044 

www.documentarydoctor.com 



March 2005 I The Independent 65 



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COMPETITIONS 

BUSINESS FILMS ELAN announces new 
screenplay contest: The India Screen 2005 
$500 - $1000 Short & Feature Screenplay 
Contest. Deadline; April 30, 2005 — Entn/ is 
free and winning filnns will be slotted for pro- 
duction. For more information and submis- 
sion guidelines, please go to: www.busi 
nessfilm.com/businessfilmelan.html. 

CONFERENCES WORKSHOPS 

GERALDINE R. DODGE FELLOWSHIPS are avail- 
able to qualified New Jersey residents to 
attend the 51st Robert Flaherty Film 
Seminar, titled CINEMA AND HISTORY and 
curated by Jesse Lernerand Michael Renov, 
at the Claremont Colleges in California, June 
11-18 2005. Awards cover registration fee of 
$750. Deadline: March 26 2005. Contact: 
Margarita De la Vega-Hurtado, Executive 
Director, The Flaherty, 6 East 39th St 12 
floor. New York, NY 10016, (212) 448-0457, 
ifs@flaherty seminar.org or visit www.flaher 
tyseminar.org. 

THE 51ST ROBERT FLAHERTY FILM SEMINAR, 

titled Cinema and Histon/ and curated by 
Jesse Lerner and Michael Renov, will be 
held at the Claremont Colleges in California, 
June 11-18 2005. International Film 
Seminars awards partial fellowships to 
attend seminar for those involved with inde- 
pendent media. Fellowships cover part of 
the registration fee. Deadline: March 26 
2005. Contact: Margarita De la Vega- 
Hurtado, Executive Director, The Flaherty, 6 
East 39th St 12 floor. New York, NY 10016, 



tel (212) 448-0457 ifs@flahertysemi nar.org 
or visit www.flahertyseminar.org. 

GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT & MEDIA SUMMIT 
2005: New York City: May 14-15. A lively and 
engaging forum of people with vision from 
the independent and mainstream music, 
film, video and multimedia worlds of the 
entertainment, media, and communications 
industries. People connect with people, 
exchanging ideas and creating projects in a 
context of innovation, reinvention, and pos- 
sibility. Together, this community is proac- 
tively effecting new ways to achieve sus- 
tainable careers and the direction of the rev- 
olution now taking place in marketing and 
distribution. For more information visit 
www.globalentertainment network.com. 

THE CREATIVITY WORKSHOP is offering a two 
day intensive in New York April 16-17, 2005. 
Tuition IS $350. Please visit www. creativity 
courses05.com or call toll-free 1-866-217- 
1980 for more information. 

RESOURCES FUNDS 

CREATIVE CAPITAL, a New York City-based 
nonprofit organization which supports artists 
who pursue innovation in form and/or con- 
tent in the performing and visual arts, film 
and video, and emerging fields. For the 
2004-05 grant round. Creative Capital will be 
awarding grants to individual artists in the 
fields of Visual Arts and Film/Video. Visual 
arts may include painting, sculpture, works 
on paper, installation, photo-based work, 
contemporary crafts, and interdisciplinary 
projects. Film/video arts are all forms of film 



and video, including experimental documen- 
tary, animation, experimental media, non-tra- 
ditional narrative in all formats, and interdis- 
ciplinary projects. Deadline: March 15; For 
more information, visit: www.creative-capi 
tal.org 

EXPERIMENTAL TELEVISION CENTERS finishing 
funds provided to artists with grants up to 
$1,500 to help with the completion of 
electronic media and film art works which 
are currently in progress. Deadline; March 
15, 2005. For more information, visit: 
www.experimentaltvcenter.org. Phone/Fax 
607-687-4341 . 

FILM AND VIDEO ARTS institute, a non-profit 
media arts organization which has been 
around for 33 years, provides production and 
post-production equipment, fiscal sponsor- 
ship, plus mentorship programs to mem- 
bers. Funded productions are of any length 
and genre. For More information and guide- 
lines, visit their website: www.fva.com. 

FILM FORUM, a non-profit cinema, accepts 
applications from filmmakers in need of fis- 
cal sponsorship. Film Forum retains 5% of 
all funds received on behalf of the filmmaker 
from funding sources. To be considered, 
please send a letter of introduction along 
with a project narrative to: Film Forum Fiscal 
Sponsorship Program 209 West Houston 
Street New York, NY 10014. Please email 
Dominick at Dominick@filmforum.org. 

FUNTRIDGE FOUNDATION is a family founda- 
tion based in Pasadena, California. The foun- 
dation awarded its first grants in 1986 and 



66 The Independent I March 2005 



established the Awards for Visual Artists in 
1997. Our grantmaking (nearly $1.7 million 
annually) is concentrated in four areas: 
Visual Arts (through the Awards for Visual 
Artists program), Theater, Conservation, and 
Community Services. Each of these pro- 
grams has a specific focus and is directed to 
a particular region. The biennial Flintridge 
Foundation Awards honor the contributions 
of mature visual artists who live and work in 
California, Oregon, and Washington. 
Deadline: March, 2005. For more informa- 
tion, visit: www.flintridgefoundation.org. 

FORD FOUNDATION MEDIA, ARTS & CULTURE 
GRANTS fund independent film, video, radio 
& digital media that meets the foundations 
goals to strengthen democratic values, 
reduce poverty & injustice, promote int'l 
cooperation & advance human achievement. 
Email secre tary@fordound.org or for more 
information visit: www.fordfound.org. 

INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE (ITVS) 

seeks proposals for public TV programs in all 
genres. Diversity Development Fund sup- 
ports ethnic minority artists for research and 
development, up to $15,000. Deadline: April 
1, please visit www.itvs.org/producers/fund 
ing.html for more details. 

KQED-TV IN SAN FRANCISCO provides in-kind 
postproduction assistance to a number of 
independent projects each year. Subject 
must be compelling & of interest to KQED's 
viewers, or attract new audiences. Material 
must pass technical evaluation for broadcast 
quality. Producer must supply rough cut for 
review. KQED also takes on a number of co- 
productions each year. For more info, call 
(415) 553-2859. 

LINCS provides matching funds up to 
$100,000 to partnerships between public TV 
stations and independents. Deadline: May 
26. Please visit www.itvs.org for more info. 

POWER UP grants filmmakers funds to pro- 
duce short films. These films will be 
screened at POWER UP's POWER PRE- 
MIERE, a festive black-tie dinner celebration 
with industry leaders, community and mem- 
bers. The films will continue on to festivals 
and venues during the following year. 



POWER UP IS the only non-profit organiza- 
tion to finance, produce and distribute 
member's films through our unique film 
grant program. Each year POWER UP 
awards three writers and directors the 
resources to produce short films. Total avail- 
able money for grants is $500,000, distrib- 
uted in a mixture of sponsorships and in-kind 
services from studios and production hous- 
es. Deadline March 30, 2005. For more 
information, visit: www.power-up.net 

SOUTHERN HUMANITIES MEDIA FUND awards 
will award a total of approximately $120,000 
to provide production support for one to 
three significant regional media projects. 
Projects that take creative approaches to 
interpreting Southern Life and culture will be 
most competitive. We are particularly inter- 
ested in film, television or radio that focuses 
on the "New Face" of the South - on stories 
that offer insights into the region's changing 
social , economic, and political conditions 
Deadline March 18, 2005. For more informa- 
tion, visit: www.southernmediafund.org. 

THE CENTER FOR DOCUMENTARY STUDIES at 

Duke University offer The John Hope 
Franklin Student Documentary Awards, of 
up to $2,000, to undergraduates at four local 
universities (Duke University, University of 
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina 
Central University, and North Carolina State 
University) to help them conduct summer- 
long documentary fieldwork projects For 
more information, visit: http://cds.aas. 
duke.edu/grants/ or call 919.660.3663/Fax: 
919.681.7600. Deadline March 10, 2005. 

THE CORPORATION OF PUBLIC BROADCASTING 

[CPBl has launched the Challenge Fun & 
Crossroads to showcase emerging media 
makers of diverse backgrounds for public 
broadcasting's national audience. In collabo- 
ration with stations and the Minority 
Consortia, POV, CPB seeks out mentor 
minority producers to bring multicultural pro- 
gramming to the series. Amount: about 
$500,000. www.cpb.org. Deadline: March, 
2005. 

THE MALKA LUBELSKI CULTURAL FOUNDATION 

offers ongoing grants for completion of 
multi-disciplinary, visual, video, and installa- 



tion art projects with an international slant. 
Application process is informal; send brief 
proposal with some supporting information. 
Not open to students. Please call [2121 274- 
8993 for more information. 

THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION and IFP 

Minneapolis/St. Paul have announced a new 
fellowship program for individual film artists 
in Minnesota. McKnight Artist Fellowships 
for Filmmakers will recognize the profes- 
sional and artistic accomplishments of mid- 
career Minnesota artists working with film 
and video. Fellows will be selected on the 
basis of two examples of completed, origi- 
nal short or feature-length works in the nar- 
rative, documentary, experimental, or ani- 
mation genres. Amount: $25,000. Deadline: 
March 2, 2005. For more information, visit: 
www.ifpmsp.org. 

THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR HUMANITIES 

supports television projects that are 
designed for national broadcast and that will 
engage diverse public audiences in the 
ideas, approaches, and resources of the 
humanities. Consultation grants enable tele- 
vision professionals to confer with humani- 
ties scholars in the earliest stages of devel- 
oping programs to ensure that the humani- 
ties themes and questions are well con- 
ceived and that the project is informed by 
significant scholarship. Television projects 
may be single programs or multi-part series. 
They can also be documentary programs or 
historical dramatizations. Amount: up to 
$10,000. Deadline: March 22, 2005. For 
more information, visit: www.neh.fed.us. 

THE NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR JEWISH 
CULTURE fund for documentary filmmaking is 
designed to support the creation of original 
documentary films and videos that promote 
thoughtful consideration of Jewish history, 
culture, identity, and contemporary issues 
among diverse public audiences. Priority in 
funding will be given to those works-in- 
progress. Most grant awards fall in the 
$20,000-30,000 range. Deadline: March 11, 
2005. For more information, visit: www.jew 
ishculture.org. 



March 2005 I The Independent 67 



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MICROCINEMAS/SCREENINGS 

ECHO PARK FILM CENTER EXPERIMENTAL FILM 

FEST, CA. Deadline: April 1st Fest; May 13 - 
15, 2005. A Festival devoted to filmmakers 
working in the experimental & documentary 
genres. Films will screen in the Echo Park 
Film Center micro-cinema festival. Formats: 
All Preview: VHS or DVD Entry Fee: $1 Paul 
Davis - Echo Park Film Center 1200 N 
Alvarado Street LA CA 90026 paolofilm@hot 
mail.com www.echoparkfilmcenter.org. 



BROADCASTS/CABLECASTS 

HENDERSON TELEVISION (HTV), Henderson 
State University's cablecast network seeks 
short films for weekly TV programming. 
Student projects are given priority. Send 
contact information, filmmaker's bio, a brief 
description of the work and a VHS, SVHS, 
DV or DVD copy to: HTV, 1100 Henderson 
Street, HSU Box 7582, Arkadelphia, AR 
71999. (870) 230-5215 or gastd@hsu.edu. 
Include a SASE if you want your project 
returned. All submissions will receive notifi- 
cation of arrival, acceptance and screening. 



IMAGEMAKERS is a half hour program airing 
in San Francisco (PBS) that features the best 
short films from around the world. Prefer 
shorts between 2 min and 25 min. No 
experimental or docs. Prefer shorts shot on 
35mm, 24p or in letterbox. Submit on vhs. 
Send to: Scott Dwyer, KQED-TV, 2601 
Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 9411. 
Visit www.kqed.org/imagemakers. 



CATEGORIES 



~ " ZES'^MORE THAN ANY OTHERJEaiSilsf^ 



fOTO 

SERnV:ICES j^JRONSTO^RyAmRDTSl 




lJANUARYff5*T0^DE«DEINE-0N-MAY 15 



V Entry Form - Fees - Formats- 
'^ www.actioncutrcoiti - 



Support 

the organization that 
supports you. 

Since 1973, the Association of Independent Video 

and Filmmakers has worked tirelessly to support 
independent vision. Our achievements have preserved 
opportunities for producers v\/orking outside the mainstream. 
For just $70/yr. add your voice to ours, and let's see v^/hat 
\NQ can do together. 

visit US at www.aivf.org 

o/-ca// 212/ 807-1400 



lOUllY IND{P(HD{NT 




68 The Independent I March 2005 




2005 STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL JULY 21-30 



10 Days Celebrating 10 Years 




Call for Entries 



Filmmakers' Favorite 

"One of the most enjoyable festival experiences 
I've had... in the top tier of filmmaker-friendly festivals 
anywhere. . .everyone who gets invited is a big winner." 

—Mark J. Gordon, writer and director, Her Majesty 

"Never before have we screened for over 900 people 
at a single festival screening. You have unlocked a door 
that many a festival director is trying to find— the key to 
solid attendance. " 

— Adrienne Wehr, producer, Jhe Bread, My Sweet 

Entry is FREE this year in honor of our 10th anniversary 

Competitions in 35mm and 16mm films include features, 

shorts, documentaries, and animation. 

Stony Brook Film Festival does not project video. 

Largest venue and film screen in the region 

• 1 ,000-plus seats 

• 40-foot screen 

• More than 13,000 attendees at the 2004 festival. 

Entry forms available online at stonybrookfilmfestiyal.com 

Or write to: 

Stony Brook Film Festival 

Stoller Center for the Arts, Room 2030A 

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 1 1 794-5425 

Deadline: May 2, 2005 

For more information, coll 631-632-7235 

or e-mail: filmfestival@stonybrookfilmfestival.com 



AA/EOE 



STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY 



www.stonybrookfilmfestivaL com 




CENTER FOR THE ARTS 



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ALBANY/TROY, NY: 

UPSTATE INDEPENDENTS 

When: First Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Bulmer Telecommunications Center, 

Hudson Valley Community College, 80 

Vandenburg Ave., Troy, NY 

Contact: Jeff Burns, (518) 366-1538 

albany@aivf.org 

ATLANTA, GA: 

IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 

353 Means Street 

Contact: Sonia Vassell, (404) 352-4225 x20 

atlanta@aivf.org; www.imagefv.org 

CHARLESTON, SC: 

When: Last Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Charleston County Library 

68 Calhoun Street 

Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841; or 

Peter Wentworth, charleston@aivf.org 

CLEVELAND, OH: 
OHIO INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL 
Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette 
Gillota, (216)651-7315 
cleveland@aivforg; www.ohiofilms.com 

COLUMBIA, SC: 

When: Second Sundays 
Where: Art Bar, 1211 Park St. 
Contact: Wade Sellers, (803) 929-0066 
columbia@aivforg 

DALLAS, TX: 

VIDEO ASSOCIATION OF DALLAS 

When: Bi-monthly 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 428-8700 

dallas@aivforg 



EDISON, NJ: 

Where: Passion River Productions, 
190 Lincoln Hwy. 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 32 1-07 11 
edison@aivforg; www.passionriver.com 

FORT WAYNE, IN: 

Contact: Erik MoUberg 

(260) 691-3258; fortwayne@aivforg 

HOUSTON, TX: 

SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: 1519 West Main 

Contact: Mary Lampe, (713) 522-8592 

houston@aivforg 

HUNTSVILLE, AL: 

Contact: Charles White, (256) 895-0423 
huntsville@aivforg 

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL: 

Contact: Paul Godby (205) 956-3522 
jeffersoncounty@aivforg 

LINCOLN, NE: 

NEBRASKA INDEPENDENT FILM PROJECT 

When: Second Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. 

Where: Telepro, 1 844 N Street 

Contact: Jared Minary, lincoln@aivf org, 

(402) 467-1077, www.nifp.org 

LOS ANGELES, CA: 

When: Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m. 

Where: EZTV, 1 8th Street arts Center, 629 

18th St., #6, Santa Monica 

Contact: Michael Masucci 

(310) 829-3389; losangeles@aivforg 

MILWAUKEE, Wl: 

MILWAUKEE INDEPENDENT FILM SOCIETY 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 



Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 
2821 North 4th, Room 140 
Contact: Laura Gembolis, (414) 688-2375 
milwaukee@aivforg; www.mifs.org/salo 

NASHVILLE, TN 

Where: See www.naivf com for events 
Contact: Stephen Lackey, nashville@aivf org 

PORTLAND, OR: 

Where: Hollywood Theatre 

Contact: David Bryant, (503) 244-4225 

portland@aivforg 

ROCHESTER, NY: 

Where: Visual Studies Workshop 

Contact: Liz Lehmann 

(585) 377-1109; rochester@aivforg 

SAN DIEGO, CA: 

When: Monthly 

Where: Media Arts Center, 921 25th Street 

Contact: Ethan vanThiUo (619) 230-1938 

sandiego@aivf.org 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: 

Contact: Kathy Vaguilar 

(510) 482-3484; sanfrancisco@aivforg 

SEATTLE, WA: 

SEAHLE INDIE NETWORK 

When: Bi-monthly 

Where: Wiggly Wodd and 9 11 Media Arts 

Center 

Contact: Andrea Mydlarz, Fiona Otway; 

seattle@aivf org 

TUCSON, AZ: 

Contact: Jana Segal, (520) 906-7295 
tucson@aivforg 

WASHINGTON, DC: 

Contact: DC Salon hotline, 

(202) 661-7145, washingtondc@aivforg 



70 The Independent I March 2005 



THANK YOU 



The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers 
(AIVF) provides a wide range of programs and services 
for independent moving image makers and the media 
community, including The Independent and a series of 
resource publications, seminars and workshops, infor- 
mation services, and arts and media policy advocacy. 

None of this work would be possible without the 
generous support of the AIVF membership and the 
following organizations: 

We also wish to thank the following individuals and 
organizational members: 



^ 



Q 



Adobe Systems, Inc. 

City of New York Dept. of Cultural Affairs 

Experimental Television Center Ltd. 

Discovery Wines 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

Home Box Office 

Ttie Jewish Communal Fund 

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 

NAMAC 

The Nathan Cummings Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

New York State Council on the Arts 

The Norman and Rosita Winston Foundation 

Panasonic USA 

Public Media, Inc. 



BUSINESS/INDUSTRY MEMBERS: AL: Cypress Moon Productions; 
AZ: Ascension Pictures; CA: Action/Cut Directed By Seminars; 
Arrowire LLC; Groovy Like a Movie; llluminaire Entertainment, 
Jungle Software; Media Del'Arte; San Diego Asian Film 
Foundation; SJPL Films, Ltd.; CT: Anvil Production; DC: 48 Hour 
Film Project; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; FL: Academy 
Leader Inc; Key West Films Society; New Screen Broacasting; 
GA: LAB 601 Digital Post; IL: Shattering Paradigms Entertainment, 
LLC; MA: Exit One Productions; Monkey Ray Productions, LLC; 
MD: NewsGroup, Inc.; TLF Limited Management; Ml: Logic 
Media; NH: Kinetic Films; NJ: Chica Luna Productions/Chica Sol 
Films; NY: 25th Asbun/ Shorts of New York; American Montage; 
Baraka Productions; Code 16/Radical Avid; Cypress Films; DeKart 
Video; Deutsch/Open City Films; Docurama; Forest Creatures 
Entertainment; getcast.com; Gigantic Brand; Greenhouse 
Pictures LLC; Greenwich Street Productions; Harmonic Ranch; 
Lantern Productions; Larn/ Engel Productions Inc.; Lightworks 
Producing Group; Mad Mad Judy; Mercer Media; Missing Pixel; 
Off Ramp Films, Inc.; On the Prowl Productions; Outpost; OVO; 
Possibilities Unlimited International; Range Post; Robin Frank 
Management; Rockbottom Entertainment, LLC; Triune Pictures; 
United Spheres Prod.; OR: Art Institute of Portland; PA: Skanfo 
Inc.; Rl: The Revival House; WA: Sound Wise; Singapore: Crimson 
Forest Films 

NONPROFIT MEMBERS: AR: Henderson State University; 
AZ: Pan Left Productions; CA: California Newsreel; Everyday 
Gandhis Project; Film Arts Foundation; International Buddhist Film 
Festival; NALIP; New Images Productions; Sundance Institute; 
use School of Cinema and TV; CO: Denver Center Media; Free 
Speech TV; CT: Film Fest New Haven; Hartley Film Foundation; 
DC: American University School of Communication; CINE; Gaea 
Foundation; FL: Miami International Film Festival; University of 
Tampa; GA: Image Film and Video Center; HI: Pacific Islanders in 
Communications; IL: Art Institute of Chicago (Video Data Bank); 
Community Television Network; Department of 
Communication/NLU; Kartemquin Films; IN: Fort Wayne Cinema 
Center; KY: Appalshop; Paducah Film Society; MA: CCTV; 
Documentary Educational Resources; Harvard University, 
OsCLibran/; LTC; MD: 7 Oils Production; Laurel Cable Network; 
Silverdocs: AFI Discovery Channel Doc Festival; ME: Maine 
Photographic Workshop; Ml: Ann Arbor Film Festival; Maine 
Photographic Workshop; MN: IFP/MSP; Walker Art Center; MO: 
DHTV; Webster University Film Series; MS: Magnolia 
Independent Film Festival; NC: Duke University, Film & Video 
Dept.; University of North Carolina, Dept. of Broadcast and 
Cinema; UNC, Wilmington; Cucalorus Film Foundation; NE: 
Nebraska Independent Film Project/AIVF Salon Lincoln; Ross Film 



Theater, UN-Lincoln; NJ: Black Mana Film Festival; Capriole 
Productions; College of New Jersey, Department of 
Communication Studies; Freedom Film Society, Inc.; Pnnceton 
University, Program in Visual Arts; NM: Girls Film School; 
University of New Mexico; NY: ActNow Productions; American 
Museum of Natural Histon/; Arts Engine; Cornell Cinema; Council 
for Positive Images, Inc.; Creative Capital Foundation; Crowing 
Rooster Arts; Dutchess Community College; Educational Video 
Center; Experimental Television Center; Film Forum; Film Society 
of Lincoln Center; Firelight Media; Hourglass Group; International 
Film Seminars; LMC-TV; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; 
Melted.org; National Black Programming Consortium; National 
Musuem of the American Indian; National Video Resources; New 
York Women in Film and Television; Parnassus Works; POV/The 
Amencan Documentap/; RIT School of Film and Animation; School 
of Visual Arts, Film Department; Squeaky Wheel; Standby 
Program; Stonestreet Studios Film and TV Acting Workshop; 
Stony Brook Film Festival; Syracuse University; Upstate Films, 
Ltd.; WaxFacton/; Witness; Women Make Movies; OH: Athens 
Center for Film And Video; Independent Pictures/AIVF Ohio Salon; 
Media Bridges Cincinatti; School of Film, Ohio University; Wexner 
Center; OR: Media Arts, MHCC; Northwest Film Center; The 
Oregon Film and Video Foundation; PA: American Poetn/ Center; 
Philadelphia Independent Film & Video Assoc. (PIFVA); Pittsburgh 
Filmmakers; Scribe Video Center; Teamchildren.com; Rl: Flickers 
Arts Collaborative; SC: South Carolina Arts Commission; TN: Indie 
Memphis Film Festival; TX: Austin Film Society; Southwest 
Alternate Media Project; UT: Sundance Institute; WA: Seattle 
Central Community College; Thurston Community Television; 
Canada: The Banff Center Library; RIDM; France: The Carmago 
Foundation 

FRIENDS OF AIVF: Angela Alston, Sabina Maja Angel, Tom 
Basham, Aldo Bello, David Bemis, Doug Block, Liz Canner, Hugo 
Cassirer, Williams Cole, Anne del Castillo, Arthur Dong, Martin 
Edelstein, Esq., Aaron Edison, Paul Espinosa, Karen Freedman, 
Lucy Garrity, Norman Gendelman, Debra Granik, Catherine Gund, 
Peter Gunthel, David Haas, Kyle Henry, Lou Hernandez, Lisa 
Jackson, John Kavanaugh, Stan Konowitz, Leonard Kurz, Lyda 
Kuth, Steven Lawrence, Bart Lawson, Regge Life, Juan 
Mandelbaum, Diane Markrow, Tracy Mazza, Leonard McClure, 
Daphne McDuffie-Tucker, Jim McKay, Michele Meek, Robert 
Millis, Robert Millis, Richard Numeroff, Elizabeth Peters, Laura 
Poitras, Robert Richter, Hiroto Saito, Larry Sapadin, James 
Schamus, John Schmidt, Nat Segaloff, Robert Seigel, Gail Silva, 
Innes Smolansky, Barbara Sostaric, Alexander Spencer, Miriam 
Stern, George Stoney, Rhonda Leigh Tanzman, Rahdi Taylor, Karl 
Trappe, Jane Wagner, Bart Weiss 



March 2005 I The Independent 71 



THE LIST 

WHAT CAN MEN LEARN 

FROM WOMEN 

ABOUT FILM? 

By Lindsay Gelfand 

Or perhaps we should ask what women can teach men about film. 
From the responses below, it seems that the answer is: everything — and nothing. 



"As someone who has produced ten indie films, I'd have to say 
the answer is 'Nothing.' Women in a position of power tend to be 
as ruthless as men, and women in creative positions behind the 
camera tend to be as resourceful and dedicated. The nature of 
filmmaking tends to homogenize the playing field. I think there's 
a slight difference in content when it comes to women directing 
porno films, but that's about it as a generality." 

— Roy Frumkes, Document of the Dead 

"l.It's not a competition, there's plenty of room for all types of 
films. 

2. It you don't know how to use a piece of equipment, ask. 

3. If you can't find the location, ask. 

4. All short films are not trailers for YOUR BIG FEATURE. 

5. Please don't call me honey, sweetie, or an)T:hing you 

wouldn't want to be called. 

6. There's no harm in trying something, even il it wasn't 

your idea 

7. The size of your camera does not correlate to anything..." 

— Alice Elliott, director. The Collector of Bedford Street 

"What a woman can teach a man about filmmaking is never to 
close your eyes. I say experience everything." 

— Caitlin Dahl, writer/director. Place to Be 

"1. How to use short ends. 
2. That magic hour is not just at sunset. 
3- How to get an actress out ol the make-up chair and onto 
the set in under three hours. 

4. How to shoot an erotic sex scene. 

5. Craft services can be healthy. 

6. Watch "Thirteen" and find out. 

7. How to manipulate the suits." 

— Mark Groubert, comedy writer 



"Sorry to be politically incorrect, but I don't think female film- 
makers are different from male filmmakers. Being a director is a 
gender unto itself It might even be a SPECIES unto itself We 
can all learn from each other. On second thought, I guess we 
could give male filmmakers a few pointers about putting on 
make-up at 4 am on the way to a shoot..." 

— Eva Saks, director, Colorforms & Sesame Street 

"Patience, empathy, humilit}'. The ability to talk to 15 people, 
frame a shot, remember parents' evening, and plan dinner 
simultaneously." 

— Samantha Moore, Doubled Up and Success with Sweet Peas 

"I feel like some of my greatest lessons have been from female 
filmmakers, though I don't view what I learned as gender-specif- 
ic. My teachers included women like Rose Troche, Bette Gordon, 
and Katherine Dieckmann — each of whom are strong, intelligent 
directors. I don't believe there are 'distinctive traits' of female 
filmmakers, and in an industr)- that is rife with chauvinism, that 
line of thinking can be destructive." 

— ^James Ponsoldt, wmerl director, Jtinehtig and Hurricane 

"I first interpreted the question to be about art, stor\' or craft. 
But to assume that women could teach men a certain aspect or 
experience of filmmaking would only perpetuate a stereotype that 
women and men have specific qualities that can be utilized sim- 
ply by having a gender. Filmmakers have many different traits, 
but the constants are creativity, leadership, and resilience — attrib- 
utes that are uniquely defined by each individual, which is of 
course aff^ected by their experience as a man or woman, but not 
defined by it. The major difference between men and women 
filmmakers isn't in their artistic abilities or viewpoints, but in the 
degree to which they're accepted in the profession." 

— Michael Fimognari, director, Ocha Cups for Christmas 



72 The Independent I March 2005 







1-800-611 -FILM • WWW.NYFA.COM 



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email: filmuk@nyfa.com 



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NEW YORK CITY 

100 East 17th Street 

New York City 10003 

tel 212-674-4300 • fax 212-477-1414 

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Gate 4, Barham Blvd., Lakeside Plaza 

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tel: 818-733-2600 • fax: 818-733-4074 

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All workshops are solely owrted and operated by the New York Film Academy and are not affiliated with Harvard University Pnnceton University Universal or Disney-MGM Studios. 'Summer only. 




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